May 28, 2024

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The torch relay for the Paris 2024 Olympics has gotten under way at the birthplace of the games in Greece.

The torch for the Paris 2024 Olympics was lit in ancient Olympia in a traditional ceremony, marking the final stretch of the seven-year preparations for the games starting on July 26.

Greek actress Mary Mina, playing the role of high priestess, lit the torch on Tuesday using a backup flame instead of a parabolic mirror due to cloudy skies for the start of a relay in Greece and France.

It will culminate with the lighting of the Olympic flame in the French capital at the opening ceremony. Paris will host the Summer Olympics for a third time after 1900 and 1924.

“In these difficult times we are living through, with wars and conflicts on the rise, people are fed up with all the hate, the aggression and negative news they are facing day in and day out,” International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said in his speech.

“We are longing for something which brings us together, something that is unifying, something that gives us hope. The Olympic flame that we are lighting today is the symbol of this hope.”

The flame will be officially handed over to Paris Games organisers in Athens’s Panathenaic Stadium, the site of the first modern games in 1896, on April 26 after an 11-day relay across Greece.

It will then depart the next day for France on board a three-masted ship, the Belem, which will arrive in Marseille on May 8, with up to 150,000 people expected to attend the ceremony in the southern city’s Old Port.

Marseille, founded by the Greek settlers of Phocaea around 600 BC, will host the sailing competitions.

The French torch relay will last 68 days and will end in Paris with the lighting of the Olympic flame on July 26.

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