The Paris 2024 Olympic Torch Relay will start its journey in Marseille, France on May 8, 2024, with the flame arriving from Greece before 68 days of travel across the country and its territories.

The torch relay will begin with the Olympic fire being ignited using a parabolic mirror and the sun’s heat as it was done in ancient times during a ceremony at the site of the first Olympics in Olympia, Greece. It will end with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony of the Games in Paris on July 24, 2024. 

Pathway to Paris: Torch Relay to Celebrate France’s People, Places, History and Sport

Photo Credit: Olympics.com

The torch will travel across 65 French territories and 400 cities. The relays will highlight the beauty and diversity of France – its history, outstanding panoramas, traditions, talents, creators and innovators and will feature approximately 11,000 runners announcing the return of the Games, 100 years after France hosted the event in 1923.

Pathway to Paris: Torch Relay to Celebrate France’s People, Places, History and Sport

When asked for three words to characterize the Torch Relay, Tony Estanguet, President of Paris 2024 chose: (translation) “Spectacular – we want to make people dream, we want to show a France that shines. National – we’re lucky to have strong support from all regions. Sportsmanship – it is very important to celebrate and encourage sport in the whole country.”

Pathway to Paris: Torch Relay to Celebrate France’s People, Places, History and Sport

It is not yet known if it will be mounted on horseback during its journey in 2024 but it has occurred in past torch relays as seen here where Zara Tindall, the eldest granddaughter of the late Queen Elizabeth II, rode with the torch prior to the 2012 London Olympics.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

After the closing ceremonies for the Paris Olympic Games, the flame will burn once more during the Paralympic Games. The flame will be lit in Stoke Mandeville, United Kingdom, widely considered the birthplace of the Paralympic Games, before crossing the channel to reach Paris. This flame will once again light the cauldron during the opening ceremony for the Paralympic Games on 28 August 2024.

Canada has hosted the Olympic and Paralympic torch three times, with the only time for the summer games in Montreal in 1976 (over 775 kilometers and 1,214 torch bearers). The flame was transmitted from Athens to Ottawa via satellite.

Pathway to Paris: Torch Relay to Celebrate France’s People, Places, History and Sport

Canadians Stéphane Préfontaine and Sandra Henderson highlighted the first time two people lit the Olympic caludron together, seen here in 1976 in Montreal.
Photo Credit: CBC News

The other two times Canada has seen the torch relay was for winter games in 1988 in Calgary (18,000 km and 6,250 torch bearers) – at the time the torch travelled the furthest north it had ever been, to the community of Inuvik, above the arctic circle. The most recent time was Vancouver 2010 (45,000 km and 12,000 torch bearers) – the torch relay flame was carried to Alert, the northernmost permanent settlement in the world. 

Pathway to Paris: Torch Relay to Celebrate France’s People, Places, History and Sport

Photo Credit: International Paralympic Committee

References:

olympics.com/en/news/paris-2024-olympic-torch-relay-route-unveiled

olympic.ca/2013/11/07/8-amazing-places-the-olympic-torch-has-traveled-including-space/

www.paris2024.org/en/torch-relay-history/

olympics.com/en/news/paris-2024-olympic-torch-relay-facts-and-figures 

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