the Olympic flame allowed Martinique to “vibrate at home”

the Olympic flame allowed Martinique to “vibrate at home”
the Olympic flame allowed Martinique to “vibrate at home”

After majestically gliding, in slow motion, into the bay of Fort-de-France, in the golden light of the sunset, the maxi-trimaran Banque Populaire XI, which left Guadeloupe a few hours earlier, finally landed, in front of more than 2,000 people who came to witness the arrival of the Olympic flame in Martinique. The crowd could exult with joy when, shortly before 7 p.m., swimmer Coralie Balmy, a native of the island, emerged from the 32-meter multihull brandishing the torch: the thirty-third stage of the Olympic torch relay can begin.

The cheers increased as this specialist in freestyle swimming events, crowned European champion over 400 meters in Debrecen (Hungary) in 2012 and bronze medalist in the 4×200 m relay at the London Olympic Games the same year, covered the promenade of the seafront, then, eyes clouded with tears of emotion, and lit the Olympic cauldron on the esplanade which borders La Savane park.

In turn, several local personalities spoke, without skimping on hyperbole. Didier Laguerre, the mayor (related to the Socialist Party) of Fort-de-France, spoke of his “great pride” to welcome “this symbol of peace”. Serge Letchimy, the boss of the Territorial Collectivity of Martinique (CTM) and close to the Foyalais councilor, welcomed the ” acknowledgement “ made to its region which has “given the whole world many champions”.

“It’s great to see that the people of Martinique came to see the arrival of the Olympic flame”, exclaimed Coralie Balmy at the end of the ceremony. The 37-year-old champion willingly complied with the numerous requests for selfies from her admirers. From time to time, she kissed old acquaintances who came to greet her.

An elegant sixty-year-old with a slim figure was one of them. “We saw her develop very young and she was already a great swimmer. But she remained very humble”enthused Yolène Largen-Marine, former president of the Martinique swimming league. “It’s a historic moment: it’s the first time, and undoubtedly the only time, that we have received the flame”added this deputy mayor of Schœlcher, a town in the suburbs of Fort-de-France.

“During this period, it was comforting”

The spectators were in heaven. “Even though it cost a lot of money, it was worth it because it honors our countrycommented Brune Le Mevel, a 60-year-old Foyalais. In this period that we are going through, both globally and nationally, I found it comforting. It gave me a lift to my heart.”.

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