The Torch Relay
The Olympic flame arriving in the host country symbolises the advent of the spirit of the Games. Before lighting the cauldron at the opening ceremony, the flame is carried by a multitude of torchbearers throughout the host country and into the host city. For Paris 2024, the flame will visit all the regions of France starting in April 2024 as part of an epic relay that will pass through iconic locations creating moments for people to come together and celebrate the event throughout the country.
The Olympic and Paralympic torch relay form two separate chapters of a single story. The first part will take place from April 2024 with the Olympic torch relay and the second part will occur after the closing ceremony with the Paralympic torch relay.
A symbol of unity and peace, the torch spreads the spirit of the Games as it travels around the country, marking the start of celebrations. For the Paris 2024 Games, the torch relay will take place over a three-month period, but the process to select the participants and many of those involved, in particular from the sporting world, will begin creating lasting memories as early as September 2023.
The Olympic torch relay
Before each edition of the Olympic Games, the flame is lit by the sun’s rays during a ceremony held within the ruins of old Olympia in a ceremony that builds a bridge to the spirit of the Ancient Olympic Games. For Paris 2024, the flame will travel from Greece to France by boat, in line with the principle of sustainability that guides everything the Paris organising committee does, especially concerning the torch relay. The relay route is currently being defined with the French state and will be announced in the third quarter of 2023, but the uniting spirit already shines bright. The event is intended to involve everyone, everywhere in France, to celebrate sport.
In order to reach as many of the different communities in France as possible, the torch relay will travel through as many regions as possible, in particular densely populated areas and at least one overseas territory. Who hasn’t dreamt of carrying the Olympic torch once in their life? You don’t have to be well known to apply to carry the torch as the selection criteria seek to identify people who have done something inspirational. Furthermore, selection criteria are designed to be inclusive, in particular regarding gender equality and the inclusion of people with disabilities. The design of the Olympic and Paralympic torches themselves will be unveiled in 2023.
The relay will also offer a unique opportunity to shine spotlight on the regions of France, its heritage and savoir-faire as the torch travels through towns, villages and iconic locations that will benefit from the focus of the Games to reveal themselves to the world, with spectators present enjoying the incredible celebrations and TV viewers the world over watching the images broadcast by the media. Moreover, the torch relay will also seek to celebrate the role of sport in society. Sports clubs will be involved, in particular during group relays, as will host towns bearing the “Terre de Jeux 2024” label that are heavily involved in promoting the role of sport in people’s lives.
The Paralympic torch relay
After the closing ceremony for the Olympic Games, the flame will burn brightly once more during the Paralympic Games. It will be lit in Stoke Mandeville in the United Kingdom, widely considered the birthplace of the Paralympic Games, before crossing the Channel to reach Paris. This flame, which will bring the spirit of the Games back to France, will once again light the cauldron during the opening ceremony for the Paralympic Games on 28 August 2024.
© Getty Images