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Paris Olympics Opening Ceremony: First French Woman to Partake in Relay Gets Spotlight by Countryman Leon Marchand

Published 04/16/2024, 8:31 PM EDT

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The Paris Olympics opening ceremony, as planned, saw multiple things being refreshed once again. One of those was to allow the common visitors in the relay race of torch-bearing in the ceremony. However, the spectacular French swimmer, Leon Marchand, couldn’t watch the historical start of the torch-bearing ceremony in 2024 by attending the celebration. But through his social media gesture, the 21-year-old swimmer tried to show his presence in the celebration by showcasing Laure Manaudou, the first French woman to win a gold in swimming. 

After a rehearsal on Monday, the last day officially, the Olympic flame was exchanged between the Greek and French representatives at the iconic Olympia after it was lit in the temple of Hera. From the Greek side, the rowing champion, Stefanos Douskos, played his part in carrying the flame up to the French representative Manaudou.  

The 37-year-old swimmer etched her name in the Olympic glory book for the first time in Athens by winning the 400m free event. Leon Marchand celebrated the veteran’s achievement by being the first torch bearer from the French side and the whole occasion by posting the snap in his IG story. Meanwhile, the simple yet prized occasion witnessed history retaking place. 

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Yesterday, Stefanos handed Laure the flame with the addition of the olive branch, symbolizing the ancient Greek sacred and peace part. With that handover ceremony, Laure Manaudou uncapped the 11-day relay race episode of torch-bearing.

The token of unity amid tensed times 

The Paris Olympics opening ceremony holds a special charm this time, solidifying the sustainability part. According to the official schedule, the French organizers will receive the flame burning in the silver torch on April 26 in the iconic venue of the 33rd Olympiad in Athens. After that, the French historical ship, Belem, will carry it to Marseille. That will be the very start of the coveted relay race. In this relay, the flame will travel through 60 French regions, including 700 cities. Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, had something to say about it. 

Ameliorating the sanctity, Hidalgo said, “This torch is a message of peace, a message of friendship between peoples, which is all the stronger at a time when the world is in such bad shape.” Every component described in Hidalgo’s comments will be displayed in reality in the Paris Olympics’ opening ceremony. As far as peace is concerned, the torch relay will travel through all those French places where peace was established after the terror attacks. In bridging the gap between the people, the major sponsor, Coca-Cola, has included several young individuals who are underprivileged. 

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Written by:

Prasun Chakrabarty

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Prasun Chakrabarty is an Olympic Sports Writer for EssentiallySports, who specializes in covering aquatic arena events. Post his experiences with popular publications including PinkVilla, Prasun began his days in ES, by actively covering two prime events - 2023 US Open Swimming Championships and the 2024 TYR Pro Swim Series. Prasun's coverage extends beyond the pool, and he takes specific interest in the progress of the triangular rivalry between track and field stars, Sha’Carri Richardson, Shericka Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. You can follow him on:-
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Edited by:

Bhujaya Ray Chowdhury