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Loughborough University

Beijing Olympics 2008

News from Beijing

12 August 2008

Honorary graduate lights Olympic flame at opening ceremony

A Loughborough University alumnus and one of China’s best known sporting figures had the honour of carrying the Olympic torch on its final journey at the opening ceremony of the Games on Friday (8 August).

In a dramatic end to the 129-day torch relay, world renowned former gymnast Li Ning was winched to the top of the stadium and suspended as he did lap of honour before lighting the Olympic flame to mark the start of the Games.

Li was presented with an honorary doctorate by Loughborough University in 2005 for his services to sport and business. A triple gold, double silver and bronze medallist at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, he earned 106 international medals during his 19-year Olympic career before retiring in 1989.

Following retirement he established the Li Ning Company Limited which has grown to become China’s largest sporting goods company with over 4,000 retail outlets throughout the country.

He was awarded his honorary degree at a special celebration in Singapore in 2005.

“It is an honour for Mr Li to carry the Olympic torch on its final journey,” said Loughborough University Vice Chancellor Shirley Pearce. “We are immensely proud of him as one of our honorary graduates and are delighted that he has been recognised at the most prestigious sporting event in the world.

“The University has strong business, education and sport links with China, with more than 750 of the county’s students currently studying at Loughborough.

Other notable Loughborough alumni in China include Lou Da Peng, on of the leaders of the Chinese delegation that helped secure the bid for the Beijing Games in Moscow and President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Professor Lu Yongxiang.

Loughborough University - Beijing 2008

Beijing facts

There are 55 Loughborough athletes in action at the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Did you know?

Former Olympic Champion Sebastian Coe is a Loughborough graduate.

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