2008.05.08 Beijing Olympic Torch Relay Kicks Off within the Country, SEM Alumna Yang Yang the First Torchbearer
The Olympic flame officially began its "Journey of Harmony" on the Chinese mainland from Sanya on Sunday, May 4, 2008, after touring 19 cities on five continents and China's Hong Kong and Macao regions.
At the Fire Phoenix Square of the Phoenix Island, China's short track speed skating Olympic champion Yang Yang became the first torchbearer. The relay will head to 112 other cities on the Chinese mainland.
"I felt both excited and nervous to be the first torchbearer in the Chinese mainland," said Yang, the first Chinese gold medalist in the Winter Olympic Games.
Yang won two gold medals in the women's 500m and 1,000m short track speed skating at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games in 2002 to end China's gold drought at the winter Olympics. She has collected a total of 59 world titles in her career in the World Championships and World Cups before her retirement at the age of 30 in August, 2006. She received her bachelor degree in business administration at Tsinghua SEM in 2007.