Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet returned to his home Canoe Slalom course as paddlers came together to celebrate the passing of the Olympic flame through Pau. 

Estanguet, a three-time Olympic champion in the men’s C1, was present at the Pau-Pyrénées Whitewater Stadium for stage 12 of the Paris 2024 torch relay. 

The Olympic flame passed through the Pyrénées-Atlantiques yesterday, travelling from Biarritz to Pau where a collective relay of paddlers were waiting to carry the torch. 

Anne-Lise Bardet, a bronze medallist in the women’s K1 at Sydney 2000, was the first athlete from Pau to seize the torch. 

Patrice Estanguet, the older brother of Tony who secured men’s C1 bronze at Atlanta 1996, also got the chance to help the Olympic flame along its journey. 

Both Bardet and Patrice Estanguet were onboard a raft and were followed by other paddlers in front of a fantastic crowd at the Pau-Pyrénées Whitewater Stadium. 

The group of paddlers from different paddle sport disciplines was put together by the French Canoe and Kayak Federation. 

It was a special moment for the Estanguet family with Titouan Estanguet – the son of Tony – also involved in the torch relay in Pau. 

Tony, who was born in Pau, achieved three Olympic gold medals in a glittering Canoe Slalom career.

The former Vice President of the International Canoe Federation struck gold at Syndey 2000, Athens 2004 and London 2012 and won multiple medals on the world and European stage. 

Along with Patrice, Tony helped develop the course at the Pau-Pyrénées Whitewater Stadium that was opened in 2008. 

The venue staged the 2017 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships and has previously held ICF Canoe Slalom World Cups. 

Speaking to France 3, Tony Estanguet said: “It’s great to see the Olympic magic on this whitewater stadium where I started. 

“Seeing the Olympics and my territory come together to welcome the flame is very moving. 

“It’s magical.” 

Photos by Paris 2024 / Nathan Lainé / SIPA PRESS

Related links

Canoe Slalom
Kayak Cross