Paris 2024 organizers receive the Olympic fire in Athens

ATHENS.- The flame of Paris Olympic Games It was handed over on Friday to French organizers at the marble stadium in Athens, where the first of the modern era was held in 1896.

Ioannis Fountoulis, a Greek water polo player and the last of several torchbearers, lit the flame at the Panathenaic Stadium. Immediately afterwards, it was handed over to Tony Estanguet, the director of the Paris 2024 organizing committee.

There was some suspense, as the attendees had a hard time lighting the lantern that would carry the flame to France.

“He wants to stay in Greece,†Estanguet joked.

Lighted in the lantern, the flame will leave for France on Saturday aboard a century-old French sailboat that will sail the Mediterranean Sea, touching land later in Marseille, a port city in the south of the country.

The flame was lit on April 16 in Olympia, southern Greece, the site where the ancient games were held for more than 1,000 years between 776 BC and 393 AD

Route to Athens:

From the ancient stadium at Olympia, the torchbearers carried it along a 5,000-kilometer (3,100-mile) route in Greece. The tour included several islands and a stop at the Acropolis.

The flame will remain at the French embassy overnight and leave the port of Piraeus in Athens on Saturday on the Belem, a three-masted French sailing ship that was built in the year of the first modern games.

The Belem will arrive in Marseille on March 8, to continue with a tour throughout France until the opening ceremony in Paris.

The next Olympic Games will be held between July 26 and August 11 in the famous European capital.