THURSDAY, February 29, 2024

Feature: Tiny flame in Olympic history illuminates a shared, green future for mankind

Feature: Tiny flame in Olympic history illuminates a shared, green future for mankind

Olympic flame illuminates the National Stadium at the Beijing 2022 opening ceremony.

The Olympic flame now illuminates the National Stadium where the Opening Ceremony of Beijing 2022 was held in the evening of the same day as the first of China's 24 solar terms, the Beginning of Spring on February 4.

A large snowflake which evolved into a cauldron, slowly rose up from the center of the venue, surrounded by children each holding a peace dove in their hands. The snowflake has six angles of olive branches, with 91 smaller snowflakes representing the 91 countries and regions participating in the Games.

For the first time in the Olympic history, the cauldron depicts a shared dream of the world as it echoes Beijing 2022's official motto - Together for a Shared Future.

"We can only write this new chapter in sporting history, because of our gracious hosts - the Chinese people, whom we thank wholeheartedly for welcoming all of us so warmly," said IOC president Thomas Bach.

To dynamic music, the torch with the flame ignited at the birth place of the Olympic Games in Ancient Olympia, Greece, was first relayed from former speed skater Zhao Weichang born in 1950s to other four athletes respectively born in 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, symbolizing the passing-on of winter sports from generation to generation.

Then, Dinigeer Yilamujiang, a female cross-country skier, and Zhao Jiawen, a male Nordic combined athlete, both born in the 2000s, held the torch together and walked forward to put the torch in the heart of the snowflake which rose above the Bird's Nest to symbolize the start of the Beijing Games.

Torch bearers Dinigeer Yilamujiang (L) and Zhao Jiawen set the torch into the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. (Xinhua/Li Ga)

Never in the Olympic history since Athens 1896 has had such an amazing imagination to ignite the cauldron.

"It astonished me, not just because the snowflake is beautiful, but the way of lightening the cauldron has never been used in the previous Olympics," said Paul Robinson, a technician with Reuters.

As a tradition, the flame would keep burning until the closing ceremony to symbolize the everlasting Olympic spirit, but it would cost a large consumption of fossil fuels, which is not eco-friendly, said Zhang Yimou who also acted as opening ceremony director at Beijing 2008.

"I have been thinking maybe we could make some reform on this to express the concept of low-carbon development in the new era," said Zhang. "I believe that if we don't do this, our later generations will have to."

Against the background of climate change and global-warming, China who has promised to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, has translated its pledge into concrete actions.

Photo taken on Feb. 4, 2022 shows a cauldron holding the Olympic flame during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. (Xinhua/Cao Can)

Beijing, the first-ever city to host both summer and winter Olympics, has experienced tremendous change from winning the world's attention with grandeur in 2008 to lightening a green future for mankind in 2022.

Various venues built for the 2008 Summer Olympics have been transformed for the 2022 Winter Games. Carbon dioxide refrigerants were introduced for ice-making in an effort to reduce damage to the ozone layer.

The opening ceremony has astonished the world in its unique way, with Beijing writing a new chapter of a green Olympics for the future of the mankind.