16 April 2024

The flame for the Paris 2024 Olympics has been lit in Ancient Olympia, marking a significant milestone on the road to the Games.

Thousands of people gathered at the historic birthplace of the Olympic Games in Greece to witness the Olympic Flame Lighting Ceremony.

The event took place on the eve of 100 days to go as the Olympic torch now travels across Greece before heading to France.

After arriving in Marseille on May 8, the flame will journey across the entire country, and some French overseas territories, before arriving at the Opening Ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympics on July 28.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach was among the dignitaries that attended the special ceremony.

He was joined by the likes of French Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo and Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet.

Thomas Bach Olympic flame lighting Paris 2024

“The Olympic Games are the only event that brings the entire world together in peaceful competition,” said Mr Bach in his speech.

“The Olympic athletes send this powerful message: yes, it is possible to compete fiercely against each other and at the same time live peacefully together under one roof.

“The athletes will shine and show us what greatness humans are capable of with all their excellence, determination and resilience.”

Mr Bach added: “This Olympic flame will carry this Olympic spirit from here, our ancient roots, through all of France and finally to Paris – making the City of Light shine even brighter.

“The Olympic flame will shine over the first Olympic Games inspired by our Olympic Agenda reforms from start to finish.

“These Olympic Games will be younger, more inclusive, more urban, more sustainable.

“These will be the very first Olympic Games with full gender parity, because the IOC allocated exactly 50 per cent of the places to female and male athletes.”

Olympic flame begins journey to Paris

Mr Estanguet, a three-time Olympic champion in Canoe Slalom and a former Vice President of the International Canoe Federation, insisted that France was ready to welcome the Olympic Games.

“It is with great pride and honour that we will be hosting the Olympic Games in the country of their founder, Pierre de Coubertin, where we keep a very strong and special link with Olympism," said Mr Estanguet.

“After the first participation of women in the Games at Paris 1900 and the creation of the first Athletes' Village for Paris 1924, we are ready to write a new chapter in the great Olympic history with the third Games in Paris, France.

“We want to thank the IOC and Thomas Bach for the enduring help and support, all these years, which have allowed us to conceive and create Games that are not only spectacular, but also more responsible, notably from an environmental point of view, which will make them all the more exceptional.

“Together, we will organise great Games, and it starts today, with the Olympic torch relay!"

Vaires-sur-Marne will stage the Olympic canoeing events at Paris 2024, with Canoe Slalom taking place from July 27 to August 5 followed by Canoe Sprint from August 6 to 10.  

Pictures by IOC

Related links

Canoe Sprint
Canoe Slalom
Kayak Cross