Everything you need to know about the passing of the Olympic flame in Charente

Everything you need to know about the passing of the Olympic flame in Charente
Everything you need to know about the passing of the Olympic flame in Charente

Yes, its reception initially fanned the embers of the controversy. 180,000 euros to be paid to the organizing committee for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, communities left behind, presented with a fait accompli and subject to organizational constraints and additional security costs.

But what’s crazy about the Olympics is their magic, capable of wiping – almost – all the slates. Since the majestic arrival of the Olympic flame in Marseille on May 8, the Olympics promotional tour has extinguished uneasy spirits and carried its magic from city to city. That’s what it’s all about. A huge caravan which carries the spirit and sponsors of the Olympic Games to take the French into the Paris-2024 adventure.

What’s crazy about the Olympics is their magic, capable of wiping – almost – all the slates.

Where to see the procession?

Barbezieux from 8 a.m., then Bouchauds, Cognac, Chambon, Confolens, Ruffec and finally Angoulême. Seven highlights, in the seven corners of the department. This is the objective of the Olympic organizing committee: to irrigate the territories as much as possible, to come as close as possible to the French. Even if it means that sometimes the relay is minimalist: at Bouchauds, the course will only be 400 meters long. But it was also a desire of the departmental council: to highlight the remarkable sites of the department. The Gallo-Roman theater of Bouchauds, the sports and outdoor center of Chambon, the quays of Cognac. Initially, the bucolic setting of the Réjallant base was to host the flame: for reasons of security and accessibility, the flame was diverted towards the town center of Ruffec.

The highlight of the show will be at the end of the day, in Angoulême, with a 6.6 km course and an arrival on the Magelis square. This is where the Olympic cauldron will be lit by the last mystery bearer.

What does a procession look like?

There are two types of processions. The classic convoy, which will wander through Barbezieux, Cognac, Confolens and Angoulême. And a light convoy, without sponsors, for more difficult to access sites like Les Bouchauds, le Chambon and Ruffec.

The first is reminiscent of the Tour de France caravan. Except that in addition to highlighting the organization and sponsors of the Olympic Games, it is backed by an impressive security bubble which surrounds the wearers. This is the committee’s fear: that demonstrators will disrupt the passage. Police, bikers, law enforcement officers by vehicle and on foot, anti-drone vehicle and anti-protesters. For each relay, around sixty police officers and gendarmes are mobilized. The wearer will be in the center of this bubble. Let us rest assured: the passage through the other departments proved that the spectators could perfectly see the carriers despite this cord.

Who are the flame bearers?

In Charente, we simply know that 88 people will carry the flame. Even the Departmental Council, which signed a check for 180,000 euros, is not taken into confidence. Only the identity of the ten carriers chosen by the communities is known (read page 5). Caisse d’Epargne, sponsor of the Olympic Games, also chose two. Others were named by Coca-Cola, following a competition. The majority were drawn at random. Official reason for all this mystery: not to expose the carriers and not to disclose their personal data. The committee also fears that some will be approached by anti-Olympics before their relay.

Each bearer will be entitled to a unique souvenir. A golden ring, the same one that is inserted in the middle of the torch and which allows its two parts to be assembled. “It represents the link that brings the Éclaireurs community together and testifies to your commitment to this adventure,” indicates Tony Estanguet, the president of the organizing committee.

How is the relay carried out?

When we talk about the torch relay, we first think of a single flame, passed from hand to hand by torchbearers throughout the route. We are far from reality. Each torchbearer only carries the flame 200 meters, to be carried out in slow motion. The goal is for it to never go out. In the event of a problem, lanterns, themselves powered by the flame of Olympia, are available. An extinguished torch can thus be relighted with a flame from the original fire. At the end of the route in a stopover town, the torches are transported by car to the next town. Those who travel through Barbezieux will head to Cognac, Confolens and Angoulême. The Bouchauds torches will parade in Chambon and Ruffec.

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