Olympic Games 2024 | The Olympic flame arrives in France and sets Marseille ablaze

(Marseille) After a grandiose maritime parade, the Olympic flame made its majestic entry into the Old Port of Marseille on Wednesday evening, aboard the three-masted Belemand the first Olympic cauldron of the Paris 2024 Games was set ablaze by French rap star Jul.

79 days before the opening of the Paris Olympics, on July 26, for the third Parisian Olympics in history, after 1900 and 1924, the Olympic flame has finally arrived in France, after 12 days of travel from its native homeland , in Greece.

In a ceremony greeted by a magnificent rainbow, the flame first descended from the legendary three-masted ship into the hands of Florent Manaudou, Olympic swimming champion in 2012 in London, to the applause of an imposing crowd, in this Lacydon cove where the Greeks founded Massalia 2600 years ago.

After a few steps on a floating pontoon in the shape of an athletics track, the Marseille swimmer passed the first baton to Paralympic athletics champion Nantenin Keita, the daughter of the famous Malian musician Salif Keita.

A symbol of “the rapprochement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games”, commented Tony Estanguet, the president of the Olympic organizing committee.

Then Nantenin Keita transmitted it to a third character, dressed entirely in white and hooded.

In front of the Olympic cauldron, the surprise guest then revealed himself: and it was Jul, a 34-year-old rapper from Marseille, who had the honor of lighting the Olympic fire for the night.

“Thank you area”

“It’s crazy, it’s magical, for me it’s an honor. I am very proud for France and for Marseille especially. Thank you area! », Launched the musician to the audience.


Jul, a 34-year-old rapper from Marseille, had the honor of lighting the Olympic fire for the night.

“We succeeded in our bet for the unified French team, it was important for us as athletes, so well done,” commented Nantenin Keita, 2016 Paralympic champion in the 400 meters.

Upon entering the Old Port, under the eyes of President Emmanuel Macron, received by a few brief whistles, the Belem was greeted by a Marseillaiseby the flight over the planes of the French patrol, which drew the Olympic rings in the sky, and by the unmissable “tifos”, these impressive banners of the supporters of the aptly named Olympique de Marseille.

On the wall of Fort Saint-Jean, the most gigantic banner, 150 m long, signed MASSALIA, honored the Greek origins of the Phocaean city, with the face of Gyptis, this young woman from a local tribe who is said to have fallen lover Protis, Greek sailor who landed in 600 BC. JC.

All in front of hundreds of thousands of people, 150,000 in the Old Port and 230,000 in the rest of the city, according to Mayor Benoît Payan.

“Today the flame is arriving, the Games are arriving and entering the lives of the French,” commented the Head of State on the microphones of France Télévisions and TF1, after the ceremony: “We can be proud, (…) It’s the French people’s day and I want them to be proud of it.”


General view of people in the Old Port before the arrival of the Olympic flame in Marseille.


“It will remain engraved in our memory,” testified Margot Malinowski, 73 years old: “The atmosphere, the mix of people, it was great. THE Belem is wonderful “.

Disappointed that the guest responsible for lighting the cauldron was not Zinedine Zidane, the child of Marseille, the star of French football, Jessy Pedrajas, a 21-year-old worker, who came from Istres (Bouches-du-Rhône) with his companion, was preparing to enjoy the evening, with a free concert by two other rappers from Marseille, Soprano and Alonzo.

Installed in the front row from 8 a.m., with a cooler and folding chairs, the couple had been waiting for hours “for the flame and for the concert”. And they finally had to wait an hour more, the show having been delayed after two crowd movements which caused some discomfort and “panic attacks” among the spectators, without “concept of gravity” according to the firefighters.

Soprano in any case was proud to sing at this great celebration: “It’s a great message that we are here, children from the northern districts of Marseille (the poorest in the city), doing the Old Port, after all what we went through,” commented the rapper in the afternoon.

“Look at the people on this port, it’s magical, it gives you goosebumps,” marveled Marie-Josée Perec, three-time Olympic athletics champion.

But the arrival of the flame did not only make people happy on Wednesday. A thousand people demonstrated to denounce the “rich Olympics”, with serious environmental consequences, and to demand the exclusion of Israel from the Games, as had been the apartheid regime of South Africa.

Thursday morning, the flame will begin its relay in Marseille through 400 cities in France for an arrival scheduled for July 26 in Paris for the opening ceremony.

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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