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The University of Southampton

Torch carrier proud to represent University of Southampton

Published: 27 June 2012Origin: Engineering

When Kangjing He took her place in the Olympic Torch Relay in Lyndhurst she carried the hopes and aspirations of her native China as well as those of her colleagues and friends at the University of Southampton. Just 11 days later she felt some of the same emotions as she received her PhD during the University’s annual graduation ceremonies.

Nestled in the heart of the New Forest National Park, Lyndhurst attracted thousands of spectators for the relay who joined the town’s 3,000 residents in welcoming Kangjing and her fellow torchbearers with great enthusiasm.
"It was very exciting, even more exciting than I imagined it would be,” said Kangjing. “The people in Lyndhurst made me feel very happy and welcome. Children ran alongside me as I carried the torch and many people took my photograph which made the whole day a unique experience."

Kangjing is originally from Guilin in southern China and uniquely placed in terms of her Olympic experience. For the Beijing Games in 2008, she was part of the Games' organising committee responsible for analysing and forecasting the daily movements and travel needs of the 24,000-plus visiting media, and planning transport services links the clients to and from venues, airports and accommodation sites. As the main contributor of the accredited media transport service plan for the 2008 Olympic Games, her work was highly recognized as an ‘incredible achievement' by the expert from the International Olympic Committee.

Four years on and Kangjing is once again focusing on the Olympics, this time working alongside LOCOG - the organisation charged with organising and delivering the Olympic Games in London. As part of the University of Southampton's Transportation Research Group based in the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, Kangjing has researched how the Olympic Games affect the travel behaviour of local residents.

"Beijing and London are very different," she explains. "Beijing has some advantages in running the transport services for Olympic clients, such as the government's strong support and the roads in Beijing being much wider. While London has a very good public transport network, in particular the convenient underground system which will greatly support the Games-time travel for spectators and visitors."

"The organisers of the 2012 London Olympics are also encouraging people to use the public transport system rather than drive so we have a very good opportunity to use our research to help influence the long term travel behaviour in London to try more sustainable methods," she concludes.

Whilst she did not have the opportunity to join the Olympic Torch Relay in China, Kangjing did carry the torch in 2001 when the Universiade world student games were held in Beijing. She's very excited to be running through Lyndhurst and particularly proud to represent the University of Southampton.

"I was the first person from BOCOG( Beijing Organising Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games) to work with LOCOG in preparation for 2012 and very honoured to be working as part of the London Olympics where I hope I can bring a positive message to link these two cities and cultures," she enthuses. "The opportunity to take part in the torch relay is all thanks to Professors Mike McDonald and John Preston and the Transportation Research Group at the University of Southampton who have supported me in attending the two Olympic Games and helping with my research in Olympic transport. I'm very proud to represent the University for this very special occasion."

Kangjing He with the Olympic Tourch
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