Chen, 60, began to pull his rickshaw around the globe after being inspired by the arrival of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. He made his way through Asia and Europe to arrive in time for the London Olympic Games in 2012, and then continued on through Canada and the United States.
“I started doing this to challenge myself and to spread the Olympic spirit of world peace around the world,” Guanming said. “I hope to encourage people to work hard, stay healthy by exercising, and to realize that no dream is too big if you have the will to accomplish it.”
So far, Chen has traveled over 170,000 kilometers through 24 nations. His next destination is Washington, D.C, and he expects to arrive in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro in time for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Koo said Chen is an inspiration to the young and old and he was grateful that so many Flushing residents came out to encourage his spirit. The councilman awarded Chen with a certificate to honor his dedication to promoting international harmony.
“The state of the world today is plagued by incidents of terrorism, financial crisis, hunger and disease,” Koo said. “In his travels, Mr. Chen has seen more than most of us ever will, and with sheer force of will and an impenetrable optimism, his passage begets a glimmer of hope and encouragement for all he encounters.”
Chen will be making appearances with his rickshaw all this week at the Flushing library to meet and pose for pictures with well-wishers. Anyone interested in his travels can visit his website.