Former gold medalist Flessel among Paris 2024 torch bearers

PARIS : Former Olympic champion Laura Flessel and world champion Camille Lacourt will head two of the 69 joint relays of torch bearers for the Paris 2024 Summer Games, organisers said on Wednesday.

Some 11,000 people will be carrying the Olympic torch and among them, 3,000 will do it within a relay leg starring 24 bearers, two of them being captained by Flessel, the two-time fencing gold medallist in 1996, and Lacourt, the five-time swimming world champion.

Pascal Gentil, a taekwondo bronze medallist in 2000 and 2004, will also be a relay leader.

“It’s a huge honour to be the captain of a relay team made up of young people, volunteers, judges, seniors… and with equal numbers of men and women,” Gentil said.

The names of ‘individual torch bearers’ will be announced on Monday, Paris 2024 officials said.

Greece’s Olympic rowing winner Stefanos Ntouskos will be the first after the lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia.

The Olympic flame will be lit in Greece’s Olympia, birthplace of the ancient Games, on April 16 in a traditional event with an actress playing a high priestess igniting the torch using a parabolic mirror and the sun.

The high priestess will give the flame to Ntouskos, who won gold in the men’s single sculls at the Tokyo Games in 2021, at the edge of the ancient Olympic stadium in Olympia.

After an 11-day relay across mainland Greece and seven of its islands, with the help of 600 torchbearers, the flame will be turned over to Paris Games organisers in Athens on April 26, with water polo Olympic silver medallist Ioannis Fountoulis as the final torchbearer.

The flame will depart on board a three-masted ship, the “Belem”, for the French port city of Marseille, where the sailing events at the Olympics will take place, for the start of the French leg of the relay.

The Paris Olympics will be held from July 26-Aug. 11.

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