Beijing Olympics

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Tibet Adds to Challenges Facing Olympic Torch Bearer

March 30, 2008 09:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Organizers say conditions in Tibet will not impede the torch’s journey from Greece to Beijing. But protests cast uncertainty over the 85,000-mile relay.

30-Second Summary

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This year the Olympic torch relay faces an unusually difficult set of challenges.

Not only does the torch’s path cut through Tibet, where the flame’s keepers may come face to face with protesters, but the route also goes to the peak of the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest.

“China sent troops to Tibet in 1950 and since then there have been periods of unrest and sporadic uprisings as resentment of Beijing's rule has persisted,” reports the BBC.

Pro-Tibet activists from the media rights group Reporters Without Borders interrupted the torch-lighting ceremony in Greece on Monday.

Despite the challenges, “China remains steadfast in its plan to take the Olympic torch to Tibet and Mount Everest,” the Beijing Olympics organizing committee said recently, according to the International Herald Tribune.

If all goes to plan, the torch’s 85,000-mile journey this year will make history.

Guarding the flame has always been a challenge, but a rewarding one, according to Mark Claussner, a former Olympic torch truck driver for the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

"It was, besides the birth of my children, by far the best thing that I’ve ever done,” he said. “For that fleeting moment, to just see the people excited, and you’re bringing that to the people, and that was really a gift that they allowed me to do that.”

Headline Links: Tibetan protests

Related Topics: Carrying the torch and the opening ceremonies

Analysis: ‘China Struggles to Shine in Olympic Spotlight’

Video: 'Olympic Torch Still Going to Tibet'

Background: Olympic protests begin in earnest

Reference: The 2008 torch and Mount Everest

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