Following its lighting at a ceremony in Olympia, Greece, in tribute to the ancient Olympic Games, the Olympic flame will leave Athens and travel across the Mediterranean Sea on the Belem, a majestic three-masted sailing ship, before arriving on French soil at the famous Old Port of Marseille, the starting point for the Olympic Torch Relay.
A city and region filled with the Olympic spirit
France’s second most populous city, which will host sailing and football during the Games, has a rich nautical history, and will welcome the Belem with a festival on the quays , made possible by Worldwide Olympic Partner Coca-Cola, Presenting Partner of Paris 2024 and sponsor of the Olympic Torch Relay.
“Something historic is happening here, in our region,” said Renaud Muselier, President of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region, and Deputy President of the Association of Regions of France. “Let’s be proud to welcome the Olympic flame, which will put the iconic locations of the region in the spotlight, before [welcoming] sailing and football events.”
Which city better than Marseille for a kick off? 🔵⚪️— Paris 2024 (@Paris2024) February 3, 2023
Marseille will be the 1st French city to host the flame! From Athens, the flame will cross the Mediterranean Sea on the Belem and launch the Olympic Torch Relay 🔥
With our Presenting Partners, get ready for a great party! pic.twitter.com/yWsiHFww2Z
A celebration of France’s history
Marseille was an obvious choice for Paris 2024 as the starting point of the Olympic Torch Relay. The cities of Athens and Marseille have been linked throughout history, with the latter being both a former Greek colony (Massalia) and the oldest city in France. Marseille also has a rich tradition in sport, evidenced by the remains of a stadium built by the Greeks in Ancient times, and it embodies the values of sport and the Games as a warm, open, festive and supportive city. What is more, the city will play host to hundreds of athletes during the Paris 2024 Games, with sailing at the Marseille Marina, and football matches at the Stade Vélodrome.
“Paris 2024 chose the city of Marseille for many reasons - some historical, some symbolic, some geographical,” said Tony Estanguet, President of Paris 2024. “The key role that sport occupies in the city and in the hearts of its residents was a crucial factor, as was the city’s close involvement in the Paris 2024 project, including its hosting of sailing and football events.”
Estanguet continued: “We are especially delighted to see the Olympic flame in Marseille, because this is a city that reflects the image of the Games: popular, festive, warm and multi-cultural. In spring 2024, it’s not just the flame that will arrive in Marseille: the Games themselves will be returning to France, 100 years after the last summer edition!”
Benoît Payan, Mayor of Marseille, added: “It is a joy for the city of Marseille to be the first phase of the prologue of the Olympic flame and to celebrate with the world its arrival in France. Welcoming this big celebration will be an opportunity for the people of Marseille to come together, to feel the energy, and to share a big, popular event on the Vieux Port. This global event will allow everyone to share a joyful moment of conviviality and solidarity.”
With Marseille confirmed as the official starting point for the Olympic Torch Relay in France, Paris 2024 also announced that the full route of the Olympic Torch Relay, which will journey throughout the country over several weeks, will be revealed in May 2023.
The Olympic Games Paris 2024 will take place between 26 July and 11 August, with the Paralympic Games then taking place from 28 August until 8 September.
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