Beijing 2022 Olympic Torch Relay visits Summer Palace en route to Opening Ceremony 

Table tennis star Ding Ning joins over 90 torchbearers to carry the torch around the Summer Palace, as the flame makes its way to the National Stadium for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022

By Sean McAlister
Picture by BOCOG

Just hours before its final arrival at the National Stadium for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 which takes place at 20:00 (CST) on 4 February, the Olympic Torch Relay passed through the historic buildings and sites of the world heritage site, the Summer Palace.

Among the torchbearers today was Ding Ning, the 2011 and 2015 women’s singles table tennis world champion and Rio 2016 gold medallist, who spoke with excitement about the upcoming Olympic Winter Games. 

“The Olympic Games is an international platform that promotes communication and friendship. I hope athletes will perform at their best and enjoy the competition, and more people will feel the charm of sports and the splendour of the Games,” she said. 

The Summer Palace, which was built during the Qing Dynasty, was visited by a number of notable torchbearers including Chi Xiaoqiu, lead actor at the Jingju Theatre Company of Beijing; Pu Cunxin, Chairman of China Theatre Association, as well as Fan Di’an, an expert on culture and art of the Olympic Winter Games, president of the China Artist Association and president of Central Academy of Fine Arts.

During the day, local residents, including the Haidian Tai Chi Association who previously performed during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Beijing 2008 celebrated traditional Chinese culture by putting on Taijiquan, Tai Chi Fan and diabolo performances. 

Later today, the torch will arrive at the National Stadium - also known as the Bird’s Nest - in Beijing, where the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 will be declared open during a ceremony featuring 3,000 performers, 90 per cent of whom will be teenagers. 

The Opening Ceremony will be directed by three-time Academy Award nominee Zhang Yimou, who had the same role during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2008 Games.

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