They will be 10,000 torchbearers to carry the Olympic flame that will cross sixty French departments from May to July 2024, explained Tuesday the organizers of the Paris Olympics at a press conference. Swimming champions Laure and Florent Manaudou have been designated to be "the captains" of this torch relay of the French Olympics, as well as Dimitri Pavadé (long jump) and Mona Francis (paratriathlon), it was learned Tuesday.
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Kicking off the Olympics, the flame, lit in Olympia in Greece as tradition dictates, will arrive by sea in Marseille aboard the three-masted Bélem on May 8, 2024. It will then begin a journey through the France until July 26, 2024, the opening night of the Paris Olympics. The president of the organizing committee, Tony Estanguet, made it clear that the final lighting place was "not stopped" and "that the Eiffel Tower is not stopped as a place of lighting of the cauldron".
Each torchbearer will carry the flame for about 4 minutes over a distance of 200 meters
New for this French edition, the collective relay: a group of 24 people, including a single bearer, will be able to participate, to represent, for example, a sports federation. They will be 3,000 in collective and 7,000 individually, including people with disabilities, and equal between men and women, from 15 years old. Each torchbearer will carry the flame for about 4 minutes over a distance of 200 meters.
One third of the torchbearers will be selected by the organizing committee and the sports movement, another third by the sponsors of the torch relay BPCE (banking and insurance) and Coca-Cola, another third by the other partners of the Olympics and the last 10% by the territories hosting the flame. They could be sports educators, great champions, personalities of a territory, craftsmen with "a particular know-how" or people "who are committed".
Sitting elected officials, or religious figures, cannot carry the flame
BPCE will launch its selection on June 1st and Coca in July. The vast majority will be known at the beginning of 2024, but the names of the great champions and personalities will be ginned over the months, with the ultra-guarded secret of the last torchbearer. According to the rules of the IOC (International Olympic Committee), elected officials in office, or religious figures, cannot carry the flame.
The relay route in detail will be unveiled on June 23. It will cross 64 French territories, 54 metropolitan departments, 5 overseas territories and 5 territories, such as Montpellier, cities that wanted to participate while the departments did not want to. Some departments had deemed the cost of 180,000 euros prohibitive.
Asked about security around the relay, the Cojo explained that there would be "an itinerant bubble" around the flame provided by the State (gendarmerie, police), to which will be added on each territory additional local security forces. For the last Summer Olympics in 2021, the Olympic torch relay had been banned from public roads in many departments, including Tokyo, due to Covid. At the London Olympics in 2013, 8,000 people took turns. The Paralympic Games torch relay, which will arrive on August 28 in Paris for the opening of the Paralympic Games, will include 1,000 torchbearers, and will be shorter.