China promises bright Olympics flame atop Mt Everest

14, Mar 31’08

Scientists in Beijing had finished tests to ensure that the Olympic torch could stay alight in the tough, oxygen-sparse conditions that leave even experienced climbers struggling atop Mt Everest, reported Reuters Feb 27. “We are fully confident that the Olympic Games torch can certainly be alight on Everest peak, and everyone will be able to see a bright flame,” The report, citing Beijing News Feb 27, quoted Ma Lin, director of the Beijing municipal science and technology commission, as saying.

While the normal wind speed atop Mt Everest is about 17 meters per second and temperatures often dip below minus 30 degrees Celsius, experts from Ma’s commission have conducted lab tests based on conditions of a maximum wind speed of 30 meters per second and a temperature of minus 45 degrees Celsius, said a Xinhua report carried by China’s online Tibet news service Feb 28. “We have organized three rounds of successful tests to ensure that the torch can ascend the peak without sputtering out,” the official China Daily Feb 28 quoted Ma as saying on a radio program.

The torch will be lit in Greece on Mar 24 and its relay is scheduled to climb Mt Everest in May, with the precise date to be decided by the weather.


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