Olympic Games 2024: 5 things to know about the Olympic flame

Olympic Games 2024: 5 things to know about the Olympic flame
Olympic Games 2024: 5 things to know about the Olympic flame

On Wednesday May 8, the Olympic flame arrived in Marseille, the first stop on a tour which will see it greet all corners of France. In the Old Port, it was Florent Manaudou, Olympic swimming champion in 2012, who passed the flame to Nantenin Keita, Paralympic athletics champion, before rapper Jul lit a first cauldron in the Marseille city. Here are five things to know about the Olympic flame.

The Olympic flame will pass through a crowd of hands before reaching Paris to settle throughout the Olympic fortnight. Some 11,000 torchbearers will exchange the torch, between Florent Manaudou (photo), Olympic swimming champion and first torchbearer on French territory, and the mystery woman or man, whose identity will not be known until time to light the cauldron on July 26, during the opening ceremony.

The Olympic flame is lit in Olympia, Greece, before being carefully transported to the host country. The torch relay is a tradition invented by Nazi Germany on the occasion of the Berlin Games in 1936, and which has since become a necessary step to increase enthusiasm. A procession 1 kilometer long, which surrounds the torchbearer, is responsible for the transport.

From Marseille to Paris, the Olympic flame will take a nice detour. For 69 days, it will tour the world and pass through 52 cities in mainland France or overseas, also greeting Guyana, New Caledonia and Guadeloupe. Historical monuments will serve as a backdrop: the Château de Versailles, Mont-Saint-Michel and the vineyards of Saint-Émilion will be in the spotlight.

In a particularly tense security context, France has worked hard to watch over the torch and those around it. A security bubble will thus be formed around the precious object, constantly monitored by around a hundred gendarmes as well as members of the elite GIGN unit. At the heart of the bubble, 18 plainclothes police officers will have the mission of ensuring the close protection of the torchbearer.

Each department that wanted to see the flame cross its territory had to pay the sum of 180,000 euros. At this price, the flame crosses three towns in the department and stops in a stopover town where communities can organize events. The organizers are counting on 10 to 20 million spectators for the passage of the flame, enough to hope for a small return on investment for local businesses.

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