Jenny Bowen, pictured with her daughters, Anya and Maya. Bowen has been selected as the only American to run on Chinese soil with the Olympic torch before next year's Beijing Summer Games.
Jenny Bowen, an American living in Beijing, has been selected as the only American to carry the 2008 Beijing Olympic torch on Chinese soil next year. She and seven other non-Chinese winners were chosen from a pool of 262 applicants from 47 countries in a contest organized by Chinese computer maker Lenovo Group and the official English-language newspaper, China Daily.
When Bowen runs with the Olympic torch next year, she will not only be representing the United States. She will also be representing thousands of Chinese orphans, ABC news said.
Bowen, a mother of two adopted Chinese daughters, is executive director of Half the Sky Foundation, an organization which was established in 1998 and aims to enrich the lives and enhance the prospects for orphaned children in China.
Nearly 10 years later, Bowen and Half the Sky have touched the lives of over 13,000 children. Half the Sky is now present in 36 welfare institutions in 28 Chinese cities. Approximately 4,000 children are active in the program, which provides trained staff, educational tools, medical support and nurturing love to orphans.
Bowen hopes that running with the Olympic torch next year will help draw attention to the children in China. She will be among 19,400 runners who will carry the flame along an 85,000-mile, 130-day route across five continents. Beijing organizers say it will be the longest torch relay in Olympic history.
Like Bowen, the seven other non-Chinese winners, who include a German engineer and a Venezuelan graphic designer, live in China. Other countries represented will be the Philippines, Colombia, India, Japan and Russia.
According to Olympic organizers, candidates were selected based on an online vote, committee selection, their "love of Chinese culture and history" and devotion to "[communicating] information of a real China to their native countries."
Each runner will carry the torch for 200 meters on Chinese soil.