LONDON (AP) — London's Chinatown is hosting an unusual Olympic fan: A farmer who says he has cycled on a rickshaw all the way from China for the games.
Chen Guanming, 57, said Thursday he undertook the two-year journey because he wanted to be there for the London Games to support the athletes and "spread the Olympic spirit." He's also seeking a last-minute ticket to attend Friday's opening ceremony.
"I came to support and cheer all the people from all over the world who are participating in the sports," said Chen, who sports a silvery white beard and a small ponytail.
His three-wheeled rickshaw, loaded with his possessions, is plastered with pictures of him posing in front of international landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Chen said his journey began in April 2010 in his village in eastern China's Jiangsu province, where he farms rice and other crops. Over the next two years, he said he covered 16 countries including Vietnam, Thailand, Pakistan, Turkey and Italy. He arrived in Britain by ferry from France on July 6, he said.
Chen said he started arranging his visas from 2009 and was helped in his finances by kind people — especially Chinese communities — wherever he went.
His account of his tale cannot be independently verified and it is not clear how he managed to traverse so many countries' borders, but a BBC interview with him showed tourist visa stamps in his passport from countries including Pakistan, Thailand and Iran.
A YouTube video posted in May shows him in Rome.