Paris Olympics 2024: D-day for the lighting of the flame in Olympia

Paris Olympics 2024: D-day for the lighting of the flame in Olympia

Pour Paris 2024, c'est le début de la grande aventure. MAXPPP

The lighting of the flame for the Games which will be held from July 26 to August 11 must take place around 12 p.m. local time (from 10:30 a.m. in France) in the sanctuary of Olympia, in front of the ancient ruins of the 2,600-year-old temple of Hera.

Almost 100 days before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, the Olympic flame will be lit this Tuesday in Olympia, Greece, during a ceremony inspired by Antiquity before a vast journey which will take it until Paris on July 26. The lighting of the flame for the Games which will be held from July 26 to August 11 is scheduled to take place around 12 p.m. local time in the Sanctuary of Olympia , in front of the 2 600-year-old ruins of the temple of Hera.

Follow the lighting of the flame live on the Paris 2024 Olympic Games website. 

For this, a "high priestess", played by an actress dressed in a costume inspired by ancient Greece, must respect the ritual known to the ancient Greeks. The sun's rays are reflected in a parabolic cylindrical mirror, which releases intense heat, creating a flame. Weather forecasts predict heavy gray clouds on Tuesday in this western region of the Peloponnese peninsula (southwest).

Reserve Flame

But at the end of the dress rehearsal on Monday, under bright sunshine, a reserve flame was kept which could be used to ignite the torch if necessary. An audience of officials is expected for the traditional ceremony in the cradle of Olympicism, including the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the German Thomas Bach, the president of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, the French Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra and the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo.

Once lit, the torch brandished by Greek actress Mary Mina will be taken to the ancient stadium where it will be handed over to the first torchbearer, accompanied by an olive branch, a symbol of peace. It is the Greek Stefanos Ntouskos, Olympic rowing champion in Tokyo in 2021, who will be the first torchbearer.

Swimmer Laure Manaudou, who won her first Olympic title, in the 400m freestyle, at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, will succeed her and be the first French relay runner. Like every two years (alternation of the Summer Games and the Winter Games), the ceremony takes place near the stadium where the young athletes of Antiquity played their first Games in the 8th century. century BC. At the time, women were prohibited from participating, and remained so until the abolition of the Ancient Games in 393 AD

The choreography of the ceremony, also inspired by ancient Greece, has been entrusted to the Greek artist Artémis Ignatiou, and the American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato will perform the Olympic anthem.

May 8 in Marseille

The journey of the flame from Olympia to the host city of the Olympic Games is one of the most symbolic events associated with the Games, with the torchbearers bringing a message of peace. Six hundred torchbearers will pass the flame to each other during the eleven days it will crisscross Greece, covering 5,000 km through seven Greek islands, ten archaeological sites and the Rock of the Acropolis where it will pass a night next to the Parthenon.

She will finally reach the port of Piraeus, south of Athens, where she will embark on April 26 aboard the three-masted Belem bound for Marseille, in the south-east of France. From May 8, the symbol of the Olympic Games will cross all of France, passing through the Antilles and French Polynesia, to arrive in Paris on the day of the opening ceremony, July 26.

The entire sanctuary of Olympia, ravaged throughout history by earthquakes and floods, was dedicated to Zeus and the Games aimed to pay homage to him. On the site, a chryselephantine statue (of gold and ivory) of the "god of gods", now missing, was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

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