Paris 2024 Torch Relay: Countdown to Spectacular Celebration Begins

Paris 2024 Torch Relay: Countdown to Spectacular Celebration Begins

(IN BRIEF) With only 100 days until the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, anticipation builds as the Olympic Flame prepares to be ignited in Olympia, Greece. The Flame’s journey to France will commence with a historic ceremony featuring the participation of Olympic champions from Greece and France, symbolizing unity and the spirit of sport. The Torch Relay, spanning 11 days and 600 Torchbearers across 43 Greek municipalities, will pay homage to the Games’ origins and the enduring friendship between Greece and France. Upon its arrival in Marseille, the Flame will be welcomed with an extraordinary celebration on May 8, marking the start of four months of nationwide festivities. This event, a collaboration between Paris 2024 and various local partners, promises a vibrant display of culture, sport, and community spirit, inviting all French citizens to join in the excitement. The Torch Relay will continue across France, engaging 10,000 Torchbearers and igniting the spirit of the Games in every corner of the country until the Paralympic Torch Relay concludes in September. Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet invites everyone to participate and embrace the unique moments of celebration that lie ahead.

(PRESS RELEASE) PARIS, 16-Apr-2024 — /EuropaWire/ — The final countdown is on as the Olympic Flame prepares to shine in a few hours in the sanctuary of Olympia in Greece! One hundred days to go until the Games, and just three weeks before the Olympic Flame is welcomed in Marseille on 8 May. After 100 years of waiting, the arrival of the Flame on French soil will mark the start of four months of celebrations, beginning with the Torch Relay, which will be joined by French people in over 400 towns and cities. The time has come for the public to join in the festivities!

The Paris 2024 Olympic Flame will finally be lit!

There will be plenty of emotion on 16 April 2024. At a ceremony organised by the Hellenic Olympic Committee, the Olympic Flame will be brought to life in the pure ancient tradition of the Games, with the help of the sun’s rays at the archaeological site of Olympia. The ceremony will see the first French Torchbearer take to the stage to receive the Flame. Paris 2024 has chosen three-time Olympic medallist in swimming and Captain of the Olympic Torch Relay, Laure Manaudou. Manaudou will receive the lit Paris 2024 Olympic Torch from the hands of the very first torchbearer, Stefanos Douskos, who is an Olympic rowing champion who won gold for Greece at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Carrying a message of unity and symbolising the unifying dimension of sport, the Flame will begin its journey in Greece to pay tribute to the origins of the Games. A total of 600 Torchbearers will cover 5,000 km in 11 days, in 43 Greek municipalities. Co-constructed for the first time with the host country of the Games, the route will highlight the friendship between Greece and France. The Flame will pass in front of the Pierre de Coubertin monument in Olympia, and also through the town of Pylos to highlight the historical link with the naval battle of 1821, when France fought alongside Greece for its independence. The Flame will also pass through Missolonghi, a town whose history inspired Eugène Delacroix to paint Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi. The route will end with the Flame handover ceremony on 26 April, in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, organised by the Hellenic Olympic Committee.

On its arrival in Marseille, France, the Flame will then be passed from person to person among the 10,000 Torchbearers during the Torch Relay in France: from the greatest champions to anonymous people with extraordinary individual stories.

An historic celebration in Marseille on 8 May to kick off celebrations in France

The arrival of the Flame in Marseille is a joint project. Paris 2024, the City of Marseille, the metropolis of Aix-Marseille-Provence, the Southern Region and the Bouches-du-Rhône department are fully prepared to make this event a masterful moment, alongside the Partners of the Torch Relay, Coca-Cola, Banque Populaire & Caisse d’Épargne, who will punctuate the Torch Relay with memorable events. After departing from the port of Piraeus in Greece on 27 April, the Olympic Flame will arrive in Marseille by sea, aboard the Belem, the three-masted ship of which Caisse d’Épargne is the main patron. The arrival of the Flame is a moment that Paris 2024 hopes will go down in history, and all French people are invited to join the celebrations.

The Old Port will be decked out in the colours of the Games and will be buzzing to the rhythm of the many events planned for the occasion. Between 11am and 5pm, the Belem will parade in the southern and northern harbours, while workshops will be held along the coast: Provençal jousting workshops, a parade of around 30 Marseille barquettes, involvement of local rowing, kayaking and canoeing clubs, escorting of traditional sailiing boats or dinghies by children and the nautical champions of tomorrow, a loop of around 40 old-rigged boats, etc.

The Belem will also be accompanied by an XXL armada: a total of 1,024 boats will escort the Flame as it enters the Old Port, where the welcome from the people of Marseille, known for their sense of celebration and their culture of sport, promises to be memorable. Fireworks, an orchestra and a show reflecting the Games will be on hand to celebrate this moment in a festive atmosphere where 150,000 people are expected to attend.

To make it all the more spectacular, the Belem will be moored to a floating athletics track through which the first Torchbearer on French soil will pass. The cauldron will then be lit among the excitement in Marseille. To keep the suspense and surprise intact, the identity of the Torchbearer will remain a secret until the day itself.

The day’s cultural programme will be equally rich. As part of the Cultural Olympiad, the Château d’If will be welcoming the (La)Horde artists’ group for an original adaptation of the show “Room with a view”, performed on the different levels of the château. A visual installation by Miguel Chevalier on the lighthouse of the Ile d’If, inspired by marine currents and biodiversity, will be set up around the Château d’If.

The day will come to a close in a party atmosphere with an exceptional concert organised by Coca-Cola, official partner of the Torch Relay. Alonzo and Soprano, two iconic rappers dear to the hearts of the people of Marseille, will be performing at the Old Port.

Celebrations open to all throughout France to experience the Games intensely

France is hosting the Summer Games for the first time in 100 years, and Paris 2024 wants to offer events to live up to this historic occasion! From 8 May until the close of the Paralympic Games on 8 September, the summer will be vibrant all over the country. The Forerunners of the Olympic Torch Relay, followed by those of the Paralympic Torch Relay, will criss-cross the country to spread the energy of the Games and prepare the French people to welcome them.

For the Olympic Torch Relay, 10,000 Torchbearers will take turns over 69 days in the 65 territories visited, including six overseas territories. The Oceans Relay will be a unique chapter in this epic, with the Maxi Banque Populaire XI setting off from Brest on 7 June for the West Indies.

From 25 August, it will be the turn of the 1,000 Paralympic Torchbearers to mobilise the French people once again in the run-up to the Paralympic Games, with four days of exceptionally intense Relay events in 50 towns and cities across France.

The two Torch Relays will be all about celebration and sharing, with five concerts organised with Coca-Cola for the Olympic Torch Relay and one for the Paralympic Torch Relay. A festival atmosphere will be created around the concerts, which will feature a unique cast of French-speaking artists, adored by the new generation and of different styles and genres, selected with the expertise of Coke Studio.

The celebrations will take place all over France to make the party accessible to everyone. The Games Map, an interactive map that will be online from 8 May on the official Games app, will enable everyone to identify the places celebrating the Games near them. For the first time, the Champions Park at the Trocadéro will welcome 120,000 people over nine days to celebrate all the international medallists of the Olympic Games the day after their feats. Club France and the Parc des Nations at Villette will be the HQs of many delegations, and more than 200 Clubs 2024 will be present throughout France, including on the esplanade of Paris City Hall. The 2024 Mini-Clubs will also be specially set up for the youngest members of the community, with dedicated workshops and, in particular, disability awareness sessions. More than 2,000 projects with the Cultural Olympiad label will also be taking place all over France: for example, from 14 to 25 May, sport will be in the spotlight at the Cannes Festival, while the Avignon Festival, from 29 June to 21 July, will be offering a programme focusing on issues of inclusion and disability.

Tony Estanguet, Paris 2024 President:

“One hundred days to go before the Games, we enter the final stretch! Only a few hours are left before the Paris 2024 Torch lights up. The start of the Torch Relay in Greece takes us a step closer to the arrival of the Flame in Marseille, which will be an absolutely historic and spectacular moment. Thank you to the City of Marseille, the Metropole of Aix-Marseille-Provence, the Région Sud, and the Bouches-du-Rhône Department, with whom we are working to make this 8 May a powerful and unique experience, as well as to the Torch Relay Presenting Partners, Coca-Cola, Banque Populaire, and Caisse d’Épargne, who are supporting us with all their expertise to create moments of magic and sharing with the public. The celebrations on 8 May in Marseille will kick off four months of festivities across the country with the Paris 2024 Torch Relay. I invite all French people to participate when it passes near them, in all the regions of France, and to enjoy these once-in-a-lifetime moments!”

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SOURCE: Paris 2024


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