Chinese farmer travels nearly 90,000 miles by rickshaw to reach London Olympics (VIDEO)

Cameron Smith
Fourth-Place Medal

Chen Guanming isn't a member of the Chinese Olympic team, but his journey to reach the XXX Olympiad in London was truly a trek of Olympic proportions.

57-year-old Chinese farmer Chen Guanming, who cycled from China to London — AFP photo
57-year-old Chinese farmer Chen Guanming, who cycled from China to London — AFP photo

As reported by the Associated Press, Agence French Press and New York Daily News, among other sources, Chen spent two years traveling roughly 140,000 kilometers -- slightly less than 90,000 miles -- from his village in China's Jiangsu province to London to reach the Games. Every kilometer of the trip was traversed with the help of Chen's rickshaw, making the 57-year-old farmer's one epic "grand tour," in cycling terms.

His goal was to "spread the Olympic spirit," as he told Agence French Press.

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As one might expect, Chen went through some pretty harrowing terrain to eventually reach the sceptered isle. When he reached Burma he was refused a visa, so the determined farmer had to backtrack through Nepal, eventually pedaling his rickshaw up mountains more than 20,000-feet high.

He was trapped in floods in Thailand and a massive snowstorm in Turkey. Finally, after traveling through all of Europe, Chen arrived in London just in time for the opening of the Games.

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Chen's trek began when he was awarded a seat at Beijing's Closing Ceremony, an honor won for his help in clearing trash around the Olympic Park. After witnessing London Mayor Boris Johnson accept the Olympic flag, he decided he would make the long trek to England for the 2012 Games.

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He made it, and 1,764 cities later, he's spreading a very simple message for the Olympics and everyone taking in the Games in person around London.

"London is especially beautiful," Chen told the BBC. "I wanted to come here because I wanted the whole world to support the Olympics and be part of it."

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