SANYA, Hainan, May 4 (Xinhua) -- The 2008 Beijing Olympic torch relay kicked off here Sunday morning, the first leg in Chinese mainland.
At the Fire Phoenix Square of the Phoenix Island, China's short track speed skating Olympic champion Yang Yang became the first torchbearer.
"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.
A total of 208 torchbearers will run through the 30.09 km route that will end at the scenic spot of Tianya Haijiao, passing the Crown of Beauty Center, Haiyue Square of Sanya Gulf and Haihong Square.
This is the first leg of the 2008 Beijing Olympic torch relay in mainland China.
Under the schedule, the flame will go to Wuzhishan city on Monday, and arrive in Haikou, the capital city of Hainan Province on Tuesday.