|The design drawing for the 2008 Beijing Olympic torch.|
The torch to carry the Olympic Flame around the world ahead of the Beijing
2008 Games was inspired by scroll and cloud, the organizers said on Thursday.
Resembling an ancient scroll and featuring "lucky cloud", the red and silver torch put to rest a debate over whether to highlight Chinese traditional or modern elements, by incorporating both.
In Chinese mythology, deities ride flying on "xiangyun", or lucky clouds. Chinese people expect the auspicious clouds to bring blessings and harmony.
The torch was unveiled by Chinese State Councilor Chen Zhili and Hein Verbruggen, the president of IOC's coordination commission for the 2008 Games, at a one-hour ceremony in the Millennium Monument.
"The Beijing Olympic torch boasts distinctive Chinese cultural features, and technical excellence and sophisticated materials. It will carry the friendship that Chinese people extend to the world and the Olympic spirit to the five continents and to the peak of Mt. Qomolangma," said Liu Qi, president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympics (BOCOG).
The aluminium-made torch, created by the designers at Chinese PC giant Lenovo, is 72 centimeters tall and weighs 985 grams.
Scheduled to scale Mt. Qomolangma, the world's highest peak, the torch will have to withstand extremely low pressure, low temperatures and strong winds.
"To the end, a special inside burning system is required," said BOCOG executive vice president Jiang Xiaoyu. "Testing is currently under way."
Jiang said that the torch can withstand winds of up to 65 km/hour and stay alight in rain, hail or snow. The light yellow flame can burn for over 15 minutes and will be fueled by propane, a relatively clean energy source.