Chinese pianist Lang Lang carried the torch in London Sunday afternoon, five days before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.
Temperature rose on Sunday when the sky of London was cleared up. But it seemed even warmer in Hornchurch, Havering in northeast London, where people cheered with joy as Lang took over the dazzling golden torch and started his 300-meter leg at about 14:30.
While he passed the Queen’s Theater, he mounted an al-fresco stage and waved to the fanatic crowd. “Thank you everyone, Olympic London,” shouted the excited music prodigy.
Lang, 30, has garnered reputation in London after several performances, whose most recent appearance was at the Diamond Jubilee concert in front of Buckingham Palace.
He was welcomed by local people while jogging, and after the leg, many requested to take photos with him.
“I am really excited today,” Lang told Xinhua. “I’m proud, but it is a different kind of pride from four years ago.”
Before the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Lang ran with the torch on the Tiananmen Square. “It was the heart of China,” he recalled. “I am proud to be carrying the torch there, before the sports gala came to my motherland.”
But this time, he noted that coming to London, he represented the Chinese young people. “The Beijing Olympics greatly boosted the influence of China in the world,” he said. “Now that people in the world are knowing more about China, I am proud to be representing the Chinese for the torch relay.”
Lang Lang revealed that this time he came to London as an ambassador for cultural exchange. He will be playing in the Barbican center, Europe’s largest multi-arts and conference venue, on August 1 on the “China night” stage, and on a dragon boat the next day in the Thames.
Talking about the upcoming Olympics, he was expectant. “I have got a ticket to the opening ceremony, and the men’s singles competitions of table tennis. “Hopefully I can get a gymnastic ticket as well,” he said.
Sunday is the 65th day of the Olympic torch relay in the UK, which started at Land’s End on May 19. The flame was hoisted aloft on the London Eye on Sunday morning by Amelia Hempleman-Adams, the youngest person to ski to the South Pole.