With 80 per cent of the 11,000 torchbearers now confirmed for the Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays, the Paris 2024 organizers have unveiled additional details about the unique sporting and team-based approach that will fully embody their “Games Wide Open” vision, bringing the spirit of inclusivity and participation to life.
Paris 2024 today announced that 80 per cent of the 11,000 torchbearers (10,000 for the Olympic Torch Relay and 1,000 for the Paralympic Torch Relay) have been informed.
The torchbearers were chosen from a pool of over 100,000 applications and nominations, representing all ages and genders, from all regions of France, as well as a number of individuals from across the world.
Speaking about the selection process, Paris 2024 President Tony Estranged, said: “The Torch Relay is, above all, a human adventure, represented by the stories of each torchbearer. Be they athletes or sports enthusiasts, committed to their local communities or involved in meaningful community projects, the people we call the ‘Forerunners’ represent the richness and diversity of our society. With them, the Torch Relay will be a wonderful moment of openness and sharing.”
The Olympic Torch Relay will begin on 16 April in Olympia, Greece, before starting its French journey in Marseille on 8 May, when the Olympic flame arrives aboard the three-masted ship, “Belem”. Torchbearers will then carry the flame through more than 400 towns and cities, including in five overseas regions, before the Opening Ceremony on 26 July.
Shortly after the Olympic Games end, the Paralympic Torch Relay will begin in Stoke Mandeville in Great Britain. It will pass through more than 50 towns and cities before the Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony on 28 August.
The names of the torchbearers will be revealed in stages between now and April. Some will be kept secret until the last moment to maintain the suspense, notably for athletes and personalities.
Today’s news follows an announcement last week summarising the collective relay concept. This means that, for the first time in the history of the Games, the Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays will include team relays every day, led by relay captains.
In total, 35 French sports federations will be involved in organising 69 Olympic Torch Team Relays. Staged at iconic venues across France, and designed to be enjoyed by everyone, the relays will symbolise the energy of sport, teamwork and local communities.
The relay teams will be gender-balanced and comprised of 24 individuals of all ages. Teams may include world and Olympic champions but will also honour local heroes, including everyday athletes, volunteers, referees, coaches and other key people at the heart of sport.
This unique approach comes from the Organising Committee’s desire for Paris 2024 to showcase the diversity of those who inspire through sport every day, and to introduce the French public to the Olympic and the Paralympic programmes.
Each team will select a captain to carry the flame. The captains will include, for example: former French hammer thrower Manuela Montebrun, who won bronze at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 and will guide her relay team on a lap of the track at the Stade Manuela Montebrun on 29 May; and up-and-coming hurdler and sports ambassador Just Kwaou-Mathey, who will lead his team on 6 July at the Jesse Owens Stadium in Val-de-Reuil, where a health and sports village and an Olympic exhibition will be held as part of the occasion.
Of the 10,000 torchbearers for the Olympic Torch Relay, 3,000 are taking part in team relays. Among the 1,000 torchbearers taking part in the Paralympic Torch Relay, 200 will be part of the team relays.
Worldwide Olympic Partners Coca-Cola and Airbnb are presenting and official partners, respectively, for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays, along with domestic sponsors Banque Populaire and Caisse d’Epargne.
The Olympic Games Paris 2024 will take place from 26 July to 11 August, after which the Paralympic Games will be held from 28 August until 8 September.