Global Network of National Geoparks

Olympic torch lit on top of Mt. Taishan

Source : Published :July 25, 2008

The TaiAn's leg of the Olympic torch relay was initiated officially at about 11:30am, July 22 as the first torchbearer of this leg, Xing Aowei who was the gymnastic group champion in Sydney Olympic Games 2000, set out. The Olympic torch was relayed through 120 torchbearers to the last torchbearer, Bi Wenjing who won the second place of Uneven Bars Competition in Atlanta Olympic Games 1996 and the world champion of "Word Cup" Gymnastic Final 1998. This leg was concluded successfully with Bi Wenjing kindling the cauldron in the Tiandi Square, Tianwai Village under the foot of Mt. Taishan at 12:43am.

At 14:00 or so, the Olympic torch "climbed up" the top of Mt. Taishan to show Olympic spirit that set off the natural scenery and cultural features of Mt. Taishan. The nationally excellent female judge, Fan Hongyan, was the first to light her torch; next, she showed off the Olympic flame to tourists on the summit of Mt. Taishan, with a smile on her face. Tourists' enthusiasm ran high along with the Olympic flame. Afterwards, Xing Aowei waved to spectators with his torch lit while he was trotting. At that moment, the cheers "Go Olympics, Go Mt. Taishan" resounded through the mountain to make majesty and generosity of Mt. Taishan more prominent. Finally, these two torchbearers raised up their “Xiangyun” torches simultaneously. Strong fog disappeared here at Nantianmen (meaning Southern Heaven Gate), so the green vegetation on Mt. Taishan served as a foil to the red Olympic flame transmitting warm blessings. The Olympic flame concluded its short show on the summit of Mt. Taishan in tourists’ rising cheers.

The scholar who study the culture of Mt. Taishan, Zhou Ying, told the reporter that the geologic physiognomy of Mt. Taishan was unique but quite similar to that of Greece’s Mt. Olympus, hence many Chinese and foreign scholars called Mt. Taishan “China’s Mt. Olympus”. Both had profound natural culture origins and more importantly, both are associated with sport, he said. In ancient China, Mt. Taishan was a sports mountain, for example around which such sports as CuJu and WuShu were popular long ago and where a nationwide WuShu competition, “Dongyuemiao Arena”, was held on March 28 a year in Chinese lunar calendar from Song Dynasty to Ming Dynasty. The Olympic flame reaching the top of Mt. Taishan announced the alliance for the first time between sports mountains of these two ancient civilizations.

The Olympic flame atop Everest two-plus months ago honored Chinese solemn promise made to the world in the bid for the 29th Olympic Games and the Olympic flame atop Mt. Taishan now offered the most genuine blessing of this China’s famous mountain to Beijing Olympic Games.