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Man bikes from China to London for 2012 games

Published On: Jul 27 2012 10:50:00 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 27 2012 06:38:29 PM CDT
Chen Guanming Olympic traveler

BBC/YouTube

If the aim of the 2012 London Games is to spread the Olympic spirit around the world, then Chen Guanming may be its greatest ambassador to date.

The 57-year-old farmer from eastern China said he has just wrapped up a two-year journey on his three-wheel rickshaw that took him from his tiny village in Jiangsu province, to the streets of London, the BBC reported.

Chen said he has traveled about 60,000km (37,282 miles) through 16 countries on his route so far -- backed up with passport stamps and pictures -- and has been able to support himself through donations and by delivering goods between locations.

According to the BBC, a banner across his rickshaw proclaims that he is on a 140,000km (86,992-mile) journey.

He said he undertook the trek after experiencing the Olympic spirit firsthand when China won its Olympic bid in 2001. Chen told the BBC that he biked through 1,764 cities in 2008 to help with the games in Beijing, and was proud to clean litter from the streets near the Olympic Park.

Organizers of the Beijing games awarded him a seat at the closing ceremony for his efforts. He said that watching London Mayor Boris Johnson accept the Olympic flag for the 2012 games inspired him to take on the journey to the British capital.

"I came to support and cheer all the people from all over the world who are participating in the sports," Chen said. "I'm volunteering. I'm not looking for a reward."

The BBC reported that Chen has been parked in the Chinatown area of the city, and has been showered with admiration and offers of accommodation as he shares stories from his grand Olympic adventure.

"I'm a big fan of Olympic Games," he told the news organization. "I wanted to come here because I wanted the whole world to support the Olympics and be part of it."

Area residents said they hope Chen's story reaches organizers of the London games and that he is able to get a last minute ticket to the opening ceremonies Friday -- maybe even participate in them.

When asked about his next destination, Chen said he has his heart set on making it to Brazil for the Rio 2016 games.

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