Paris 2024 Olympic Games: Gardois Frédéric Matan will be the first “Best Worker in France” to carry the flame

Paris 2024 Olympic Games: Gardois Frédéric Matan will be the first “Best Worker in France” to carry the flame

Frédéric Matan vient de restaurer les pilastres du cinéma Gaumont, place de la Comédie, à Montpellier. Midi Libre – JEAN-MICHEL MART

Nîmois de naissance, ce tailleur de pierre, installé au Pouget depuis 2007, portera la flamme dans Montpellier ce 13 mai. Choisi par La Banque Populaire du Sud, il avait déjà participé à la cérémonie des Jeux d’Albertville en 1992.

There are stories that cannot be invented. And destinies carved into the most ancient rocks. That of Frédéric Matan will remain closely linked to the Olympic rings, he who will carry the flame of Paris 2024, this May 13, 32 years after participating in the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics ;Albertville with the Alpine Hunters.

"We animated the ceremony with flags, the stadium rose in a huge ola, an unforgettable memory",< /em> lets go of this Nîmes native whose great-grandfather – Emile Matan – was a resistance fighter and then assistant to François Delmas for sports at Montpellier town hall.

For the hundred years of the Best Worker competition

For Frédéric Matan, this incredible return of flame illuminates his journey with a glow of recognition. "I will be the first Meilleur Ouvrier de France to carry the flame , he proudly states. There will be others by Paris but as Montpellier is located at the very beginning of the journey, it’s a privilege that I ;rsquo;appreciate because the competition for Best Worker in France is celebrating its hundredth anniversary this year."

Enough to engrave the moment in marble for this stonemason who had tried his hand at wood before changing materials "to work in the open air". Since the companions' house in Nîmes, a voluntary journey rewarded with this title of Best Worker in 2004, at the age of 34, before creating in 2007, in Pouget, near Clermont-l’Hérault, a workshop today; now labeled "living heritage company".

"Transmitting the taste of excellence made in France"

"My job is to revalorize historic sites", he explains in front of the pilasters of the Gaumont Comédie cinema which he has just brought back to life. An echo of the fabulous construction sites that adorn its gallery of memories, from the Richelieu wing of the Louvre to the pilaster of the National Assembly, including the windows of the Sainte Eustache church or the base of the Statue of Louis XIV in front of the Louvre Pyramid.

Also read: Paris 2024 Olympics: these teacher-student pairs who will represent their school in the torch relay

This pride in practicing "one of the oldest professions in the world" today rubs shoulders with those of "bring Montpellier a little into the history of the relay" and "transmit the taste of the  rsquo;excellence "made in France" to athletes, as an ambassador of workers and know-how".

"Have fun and give a good image of the job"

It’s this taste for transmission that allowed Frédéric’s profile to emerge among 2000 candidates among the lucky ones of the Banque Populaire du Sud, sponsor of the Olympic Games , with the blessing of the Regional Chamber of Trades. "During the Olympic day, 50 children from the Pouget school came to the workshop learn about stone cutting. I had them engrave the Olympic rings,tells, with stars in his eyes, the one who also supervises volunteers for the restoration of the castle of Montferrand, near the pic Saint-Loup.

Frédéric never forgets this original passion for sport, inherited from his ancestors, and which pushed him to take on the role of youth coach footballers in Caissargues. An educator profile that definitely makes him tick all the boxes, "because winning and success are closely linked with sport and education."

He who also works in the shadows, including as a jury for the Best Worker competition, will savor these 200 meters and nearly 4 minutes in full light, haloed by the sacred fire. With the sole objective of "having fun and giving a good image of our construction profession, me who started from nothing". Before going through so many things, like most Companions.

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