In-Seine Facts | The Games Torch Relay

The Olympic flame will be lit in ancient Olympia today, Tuesday April 16, and will be carried on a 68-day relay for the first ever opening ceremony to take place outside of a stadium, along the Seine river in Paris on July 26.

The flame will be handed over at the French embassy in Athens before coming to Marseille to begin the relay, where 10,000 torchbearers will pass the flame across 400 towns in over 65 territories.

But how did the Olympic flame become an integral part of the opening ceremony in the first place?

The tradition was first established in the 1928 Amsterdam Games, after a flame was lit at the entrance to the Olympic stadium, capturing the public's attention.

The first Olympic torch relay then began in 1936, travelling overseas to Italy.

The Olympic flame travelled on an airplane to Norway for the Winter Games in 1952, with the tradition of the relay originating from Olympia beginning in 1964, remaining that way ever since.

The passing of the flame is meant to symbolise the light of spirit and knowledge being handed down from generation to generation.

Created by French designer Matthieu Lehanneur, the champagne-coloured torch this year embodies the three themes of Paris 2024; equality, water and peacefulness.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games will share the same torch design for the first time, with this equality being symbolised through the symmetry of the torch.

The water of the Seine is represented through the wave design on the torch, with 3D and vibration effects emulating the movements of water.

The fine details of the torch's soft curves and rounded edges are intended to symbolise peace.

Weighing only 1.5kg at 70cm long, there will be 2,000 torches produced, made from recycled and renewable resources - five times fewer than previous editions of the Games. 

At the conclusion of the Olympic Games, the flame will be extinguished, but the torch will be lit once again in Stoke Mandeville, the home of the first Paralympic Games, and 1,000 different torchbearers will take part in the relay for the Paralympic Games. 

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