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Olympic Flame to Take Seaborne Journey to 2024 Paris Games (Photos)

February 3, 2023

MARSEILLE, France (AP) — The Olympic flame is going for a sail.

Instead of arriving overland, the symbolic flame alighting the 2024 Paris Games will take to the seas from its birthplace in Greece, arriving aboard a three-masted tall ship in the French port of Marseille.

Paris organizers announced the flame’s journey on Friday at City Hall in Marseille, a former Greek colony founded 2,600 years ago.

According to tradition, the flame will be lit by the sun’s rays at a ceremony in Ancient Olympia. Then it will be carried by the Olympic torch to Athens and across the Mediterranean to the famed Old Port of Marseille, where the flame will be greeted by an armada of boats along the French coastline, organizers said.

It will travel to the Marseille marina — where Olympic sailing competitions will be based — and the Marseille stadium hosting Olympic soccer games, according to the organizers.

FILE – Greek actress Xanthi Georgiou, playing the role of High Priestess, lights the torch with the flame during the Olympic flame handover ceremony at Panathinean stadium in Athens, Greece, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. Instead of arriving overland, the symbolic flame alighting the Paris 2024 Games will take to the seas from its birthplace in Greece, arriving aboard a three-masted tall ship in the French port of Marseille. Paris 2024 organizers announced the flame’s journey Friday Feb.3, 2023 at City Hall in Marseille, a former Greek colony founded 2,600 years ago. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, File)

After that it will be carried overland in the traditional torch relay, before arriving in Paris to light the cauldron and officially open the 2024 Games, which run July 26-Aug. 11.

Friday’s announcement came as the general assembly of Ukraine’s National Olympic Committee was meeting in Kyiv to discuss a possible boycott of Paris 2024 if Russian athletes are allowed to compete.

The International Olympic Committee last week sought to chart a path for athletes from Russia and Belarus who have not actively supported the war in Ukraine to join the Paris Olympics. That provoked strong objections from Ukraine, which wants those countries banned from most international sports.

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From left, Head of Paris 2024 Olympics Tony Estanguet, Mayor of Marseille Benoit Payan, President of Paca regional council Renaud Muselier and President of the Bouches-du-Rhone departmental council Martine Vassal attend a press conference at Marseille City Hall, southern France, Friday, Feb. 3. 2023. Instead of arriving overland, the symbolic flame alighting the Paris 2024 Games will take to the seas from its birthplace in Greece, arriving aboard a three-masted tall ship in the French port of Marseille. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Mayor of Marseille Benoit Payan, center, raises the Olympic flag with Head of Paris 2024 Olympics Tony Estanguet, center right, after a press conference at the Marseille City Hall, southern France, Friday, Feb. 3. 2023. Instead of arriving overland, the symbolic flame alighting the Paris 2024 Games will take to the seas from its birthplace in Greece, arriving aboard a three-masted tall ship in the French port of Marseille. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
A man paddles a canoe in Marseille’s Vieux Port, southern France, Friday, Feb. 3. 2023. Instead of arriving overland, the symbolic flame alighting the Paris 2024 Games will take to the seas from its birthplace in Greece, arriving aboard a three-masted tall ship in the French port of Marseille. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
A boat sails in Marseille’s Vieux Port, southern France, Friday, Feb. 3. 2023. Instead of arriving overland, the symbolic flame alighting the Paris 2024 Games will take to the seas from its birthplace in Greece, arriving aboard a three-masted tall ship in the French port of Marseille. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
A boat sails in Marseille’s Vieux Port, southern France, Friday, Feb. 3. 2023. Instead of arriving overland, the symbolic flame alighting the Paris 2024 Games will take to the seas from its birthplace in Greece, arriving aboard a three-masted tall ship in the French port of Marseille. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

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