The Olympic Winter Games open in Salt Lake City in just about five weeks, and the Olympic flame continues winding its way through the United States on its way to the games. On Friday, the flame passed through Chicago.

A cold wind blowing off Lake Michigan helped put a couple of hundred Chicagoans in the right mood to cheer on the flame as it arrived in Chicago Friday afternoon. More than 12,000 people running or walking about 300 meters each are relaying the flame along its route to Salt Lake City.

"It is pretty exciting," said torchbearer Dianne Durham, a former national gynastics champion. "It is a good feeling to know that you are a part of something that is going to be in Salt Lake City, a part of Chicago, and all of the United States for a common goal: the Olympics."

Most of those who get to carry the flame were nominated by a friend of family member who wrote an essay saying how the nominee embodied the Olympic spirit. The flame began its U.S. tour December 4 in Atlanta. It will travel 22,000 kilometers before reaching Salt Lake City next month.