“It’s an exceptional mission, that of the Games!”, explains Lionel Valero of the Béziers police station responsible for the security of the Olympic flame

“It’s an exceptional mission, that of the Games!”, explains Lionel Valero of the Béziers police station responsible for the security of the Olympic flame

Lionel Valero, du commissariat de Béziers assurera une bulle de sécurité autour de la flamme olympique de Marseille à Paris. J.-P A. – Midi Libre

Lionel Valero is a major at the Béziers police station. It was selected to ensure a security bubble around the Olympic flame from the descent of Belem in Marseille until Paris on July 26. He is the only police officer from the Hérault department to participate in this mission.

How were you selected for this very special mission ?

I simply wrote an application letter, then there was a selection.

What motivated this application ?

I have always been doing sports. It’s an environment that I particularly like and there, I could combine both my passion and my job. In addition, it is an exceptional mission, that of the Olympic Games. This only happens once in a police officer’s career. When I saw the telegram for applications come through I tried my luck. I didn’t hesitate for a moment. I understood that this would be a mission made for me. Having the chance to participate in this event is something unique.

So this will be a mission that will last ?

Yes, it starts today and will last until July 26, when the cauldron will be lit. And we trained for it.

Will you, as part of this mission, have the chance to carry the flame. To pass a baton ?

No way. But it’s not serious. We will be there (50 police officers and 50 gendarmes) to ensure the safety of the bearers, the flame and the route. This flame must never go out. This is our mission. Despite everything, we will be as close as possible so that she can live a very good life until Paris.

To simplify, your mission will be to keep this flame in perpetual motion ?

There you go. We will pick her up when she descends from Belem to Marseille on May 8 and never take our eyes off her.

What was your reaction when you learned that your application was successful ?

It’s indescribable… An immense joy. After 32 years in the national police, it’s quite a form of recognition. I take this selection as a form of thanks from my superiors for all these years of serving others.

Is there one more reward planned in Paris. Attend tests ?

No, for the moment, we haven't been told about it. All the “runners”, that’s what we are called, we would like to attend the opening ceremony. It will perhaps be the most beautiful final for us. But we know, we were recruited for a police mission. We have to see it differently, we are participating in one hell of a party, the most beautiful.

How will you ensure the safety of porters ? On foot, by vehicle ?

Depending on the wearer, we will be fast walking or running. There is a lady over 100 years old, we will be close by to help her if necessary. It won't be static, but a short run.

You can already imagine all the memories you will bring back ?

Ah yes! It has already started since we have been grouped together for different training sessions. First of all, there will be some very nice encounters. Each day will be different and therefore there will be material to remember sacred moments. It won't be four months of routine, that's for sure. This will be a unique mission, of high intensity and high concentration.

You will have a special outfit to follow the flame ?

Yes, a dedicated sports outfit which will subsequently be supervised by me. It will be part of all the memories I have made throughout my career and it will have a beautiful place.

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