Manaudou takes back the torch, start for the Olympic flame

16 April 2024 / Thibaud Vézirian

From Greece to France. This is the start of the long journey of the Olympic flame. This will arrive in Marseille on May 8. Since this morning, around 10 torchbearers have had the difficult task of carrying out these three months of symbolic relays.

This symbol of peace and unity is part of the pre-Games ritual. It’s a breath of fresh air for this current world, surrounded by war on all sides.

This Tuesday, April 16, at 11 a.m. (French time), the “ rays of the sun from Olympia” (Greece) lit the Olympic flame. All this at the site of the remains of the temple of the marriage goddess Hera. The torch is on its way.

It is the Greek actress Mary Mina, from the ancient stadium, who passes the torch to the first torchbearer, the Greek Stefanos Ntouskos, Olympic rowing champion in Tokyo in 2021.

Symbol of the transfer of power, Laure Manaudou, Olympic champion in the 400 meter freestyle at the Athens Games in 2004, takes over this morning.

11 days in Greece, including a handover ceremony at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, where the modern Games were born, then the flame will head to Marseille. On board the Belem, the only survivor of the French three-masted ship, launched in 1896, the year of the first Olympic Games.

On Wednesday May 8, the entry of Belem into the Old Port will be broadcast by all media. It will be surrounded by a thousand boats, 150 spectators are expected. The flame will then travel through 000 departments, stopping in 64 towns and 65 towns.

Un honor for these cities but also an enormous cost. All this has a price: to host the relay for even one day, you need to count on 180 euros, minimum. A bill that is too high for certain departments. So certain cities like Montpellier, Sète and Millau joined forces to share the costs.