Olympic Torch Lights Up Haute-Garonne: A Day of Celebration and Inspiration

Olympic Torch Lights Up Haute-Garonne: A Day of Celebration and Inspiration

(IN BRIEF) Stage 9 of the Olympic Torch Relay in Haute-Garonne, South West France, was a day filled with excitement and inspiration as nearly 150 torchbearers carried the flame through various towns. The Torch Relay showcased the region’s vibrant culture and sporting heritage, with local champions like the Stade Toulousain rugby stars and para-sport athletes taking center stage. From thrilling para-sport demonstrations to performances by renowned artists like Bigflo & Oli and Thibo InShape, the event brought communities together in celebration of sport and unity. The day ended with a spectacular display in Toulouse, highlighting the city’s rich history and love for rugby. As the torch moves forward, it continues to spread the spirit of the Games and inspire people across France.

(PRESS RELEASE) PARIS, 18-May-2024 — /EuropaWire/ — Stage 9 of the Torch Relay set course for Haute-Garonne: from Revel to Toulouse and from Villemur-sur-Tarn to Colomiers, life is good in South West France. The entire department was bubbling with anticipation on Friday, 17 May and bade the nearly 150 Olympic torchbearers a grandiose welcome! The champions of Stade Toulousain took centre stage in this place where rugby is king: there was Antoine Dupont, who lit the cauldron, Romain Ntamack and his father Émile, David Berty, Vincent Clerc and Maxime Médard. Bigflo & Oli and Thibo InShape were among the other celebrities born and bred in Toulouse who joined the relay.

The Olympic torch paints the department red

A series of introductions to para-sports, concerts and sports activities plunged the crowds into the fun-filled ambience of the Games. Para-sport took pride of place at the Revel Belfry, with introductions to wheelchair biathlon and blind football. About a hundred kilometres from there, in Villemur-sur-Tarn, a whopping 1,500 young people joined the baritone Omar Hasan, also a charismatic representative of the local rugby scene, for a rousing rendition of La Marseillaise. Rieux-Volvestre set the backstage for an XL Games dance.

The entire Pink City was clad in the colours of the Torch Relay for the spectacle of a lifetime! The Olympic torch crossed Place du Capitole, a major landmark, and weaved its way to Saint-Sernin’s Basilica, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. No visit to Toulouse could be complete without a tribute to rugby. Every generation of Stade Toulousain players came together for the occasion: Maxime Médard, a capped player who spent his whole career with the Red and Blacks, as well as two local heroes in the shape of Romain Ntamack and his father Émile. Vincent Clerc, a three-time winner of the Six Nations Championship, also came out to play, as did David Berty, who now displays his talent in wheelchair rugby with Toulousain Olympique XIII. The end-of-day celebrations took place in the vicinity of the Ernest Wallon Stadium, home to Stade Toulousain. Antoine Dupont, the charismatic captain of the French national team and Stade Toulousain and winner of the World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Year award in 2021, finished the segment as the last torchbearer of the day.

Nearly 150 torchbearers make the crowds go wild

The day began in Revel with the inspiring tale of Jérôme Bernard, a family man, entrepreneur and volunteer who has been fighting for years to make sport and, in particular, running more accessible to people with disabilities. A triple amputee, he set up an organisation to encourage able-bodied and disabled athletes to tackle bold challenges together. His latest adventure was completing the GR20 trail in Corsica. Jérôme is living proof that anything is possible with enough grit and determination.

Haute-Garonne is like a primordial nebula in which the brightest stars of the sporting constellation burst into life. The public got to see the 2023 handball world champion Nodjialem Myaro, the Toulouse Football Club goalkeeper Guillaume Restes and Brianna Vidé, an up-and-coming para-fencer set to compete in the Paris 2024 Games, as well as Coralie Gonzalez, a member of the French national goalball team, and Claude Onesta, a player-cum-star coach of the national handball team.

Thibo InShape, a famous French YouTuber with over 18 million subscribers, and Bigflo & Oli, the top dogs of the Toulouse rap scene, also received a warm welcome on the roads of the Torch Relay.

Badminton at the heart of the team relay in Toulouse

Toulouse is a hotbed of badminton that has produced stars of the calibre of Bernard de Pérignon. The team relay organised by the French Badminton Federation shared strong values such as esprit de corps, diversity and social mixing. Florence Delgal, a four-time French para-badminton champion in double ladies, captained the team relay. As a teacher, she instils the key values of personal transcendence, inclusion and sharing in her pupils.

Tomorrow, the Olympic torch will advance toward the Atlantic Ocean, visiting the Gers department and shining a light on the qualities that have earned it the moniker “Little Tuscany”. It will set off from L’Isle-Jourdain and go through Mirande, Fleurance, Marciac, Condom and Nogaro before calling it a day in Auch.

On 20 May, D-100 of the Paralympic Games will also be celebrated on the roads of the Relais de la Flamme, in the Pyrénées Atlantiques.

Copyright : Paris 2024 / Guillaume Ruchaud / SIPA PRESS

View the full stage programme at https://olympics.com/fr/paris-2024/relais-de-la-flamme-olympique/etapes/gers-auch

Celebration venue programme:
Open to the public from 3:30 to 7:45 pm
Free admission, limited capacity
3:30 pm: opening to the public
4–5:30 pm: local authorities’ activities on the sports esplanade
5:45–6:50 pm: partners’ activities on the sports esplanade
7:20–7:30: finish of the last runner

Media Contact:

email: medias.relaisdelaflamme@paris2024.org

SOURCE: Paris 2024


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