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Jackie Chan and medallists carry Olympic torch atop Great Wall

Jackie Chan

On Thursday, the Olympic torch relay entered its second day atop the Great Wall, with Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan and Chinese Olympic medallists taking turns carrying the flame over a three-day itinerary due to COVID-19.

The news: The torch relay for the Winter Games, which will take place from February 4 to 20, is far smaller than the globe-spanning relay for Beijing’s 2008 Summer Games, which was disrupted by protesters.

  • Ma Long, an Olympic table tennis gold medallist, and Wu Jingyu, a two-time gold medallist in taekwondo, were among those who carried the red-and-silver spiral flame through the Badaling section of the Great Wall, where the temperature was a chilly -11 Celsius on Thursday morning (12 Fahrenheit).
  • Chan, 67, a Hong Kong action and comedy film actor known for his backing of the Beijing leadership, was given the Chinese name Chen Gangsheng in the official news statement.
Actor Jackie Chan talks to the media after taking part in the Torch Relay at the Badaling section of the Great Wall in Yanqing district. REUTERS/Ryan Woo

What Chan said: “I woke up at 4 a.m. This is my fourth Olympics. I’m very happy. I’m also cold!”, Chan told reporters after his run along the wall.

What’s important: Badaling, the most popular tourist portion of the wall, is located 70 kilometres (45 miles) northwest of central Beijing in the Yanqing district, close to the Olympic sliding and Alpine skiing sites.

  • It was constructed during the Ming period approximately 1500 A.D.
  • The torch will be carried to Zhangjiakou in neighbouring Hebei province later on Thursday, where the majority of the Olympic snow events will be held. At Friday’s opening ceremony, the Olympic cauldron will be lit, bringing the relay to a close.
  • Because of COVID-19, the Games will be held in a “closed loop,” with participants and other Olympic personnel kept away from the general public, and only a limited, select audience will be present.
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