[Luxus Magazine] Olympia: start of the flame’s journey to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games

The Olympic flame was lit in Olympia, the birthplace of the ancient Games, on Tuesday, April 15, 2024, 101 days before the 33rd Olympiad kicks off in Paris. This marks the start of a 5,000-kilometer journey for the torch before it reaches Marseille on May 8, followed by French Polynesia and the City of Light.

 

“Carrier of hopes and dreams for a great many athletes”, the Olympic flame has begun its fabulous odyssey, which will take it to Paris on July 27, the date of the opening ceremony.

In accordance with ancient Greek rituals, and especially those of the 1936 Olympic Games, the flame was lit and began its 5,000 km relay from the sanctuary of Hera in Olympia.

This marked a return to normal after the COVID had prevented the ceremony from taking place at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the 2021 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Standing beside the sacred olive trees that once lined the ancient stadium, this event, a symbol of universal peace, is all the more significant now that war is raging in Ukraine, in the regions of Upper Karabagh (Armenia) and North Kivu (Democratic Republic of Congo). And the risk of conflagration in the Middle East and Africa’s Great Lakes region has never been greater.

Under the auspices of Hera and Pierre de Coubertin

Some six hundred people flocked to Olympia on Tuesday April 17 at 11am Paris time. As is the case every time the flame is lit, many tourists of all nationalities came to witness this ritual, which seems to come from the depths of time. A unique, suspended moment lulled by the incantations of the High Priestess of Hera, Greek goddess of the hearth and wife of Zeus, the “God of Gods”.

The cloudy, capricious skies of the day forced the organizers to make a slight departure from tradition. As the “Skaphia” parabolic mirror was inoperative, a spare flame had to be used to ignite the Olympic torch.

 

Olympia © James Lee/Unsplash

 

However, 3000 years ago, this ritual did not exist. In the 8th century B.C., the Olympic Games consisted of 5 days of festivities based on the most important sporting disciplines of the day, such as running, jumping, wrestling, boxing and pancrastics, throwing and chariot racing. Olympia, not yet a city in its own right, welcomed no fewer than 40,000 people every four years. This great competition, whose fame extended beyond the Peloponnese region, was dedicated to Zeus and therefore took place in Olympia, within his sanctuary. The games also served as aunit for measuring time, with four-year cycles called Olympiads.

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Victor Gosselin
Victor Gosselin is a journalist specializing in luxury, HR, tech, retail, and editorial consulting. A graduate of EIML Paris, he has been working in the luxury industry for 9 years. Fond of fashion, Asia, history, and long format, this ex-Welcome To The Jungle and Time To Disrupt likes to analyze the news from a sociological and cultural angle.

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