News ID: 317254
Published: 0950 GMT October 20, 2021

Beijing lights Olympic flame, to be first city to host summer, winter Games

Beijing lights Olympic flame, to be first city to host summer, winter Games
TINGSHU WANG/REUTERS

The Olympic flame burns in a cauldron at the ceremony to welcome the flame for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, on October 20, 2021.

China lit its Olympic flame in Beijing on Wednesday after the ceremonial torch arrived from Athens, ahead of the Chinese capital's hosting of the 2022 Winter Games in February.

The Winter Games will be held from Feb. 4 to Feb. 20, when Beijing will become the first city to host both the summer and winter Olympics, amid a COVID-19 pandemic that means overseas spectators will be excluded, Reuters reported.

At a welcome ceremony held near the National Stadium, shaped like a bird's nest and built for the 2008 Summer Games, Beijing Communist Party chief Cai Qi lit a cauldron to symbolise the arrival of the Olympic flame in China.

The flame had left Athens on Oct. 19 and travelled to Beijing in a red lantern designed in the likeness of a Han Dynasty tomb artefact, carried by torchbearers decked in white.

China will display the Olympic flame at Beijing's Olympic Park from Wednesday. In early February next year, 1,200 torchbearers will carry the flame through the cities of Beijing and Zhangjiakou and the district of Yanqing, which are the competition venues.

The torch relay route has been "appropriately reduced" due to the need to guard against the spread of COVID-19, said Beijing Vice Mayor Zhang Jiandong at the ceremony.

The ceremony went off without a hitch on Wednesday in Beijing, where, like elsewhere in China, security is usually tight.

 

   
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