The secret had been well kept. The effect was all the greater. With one day to go until the symbolic date of D – 1 year before the opening of the Paris 2024 Games, the OCOG pulled a surprise guest out of its hat for the Olympic torch unveiling ceremony. Usain Bolt unfurled his long silhouette on Tuesday July 25, alongside Tony Estanguet and Thomas Bach. Lightning in person. A great coup.
The Jamaican embarked with an imposing colony of French athletes on the boat intended for the French delegation on Friday July 26, 2024 during the opening ceremony. The Paquebot, as it is called, will close the long colony of delegation boats during the Parade of Nations.
The torch, that is. Unsurprisingly, the Paris 2024 OCOG wanted it to be different from previous editions. A habit. At this stage, it could even be called an obsession.
Imagined by French designer Mathieu Lehanneur, it breaks with the codes of the genre by abandoning the flared shape. Instead, the Paris 2024 version of the Olympic torch adopts a symmetrical design, with a narrower top and bottom. According to its designer, this choice “highlights the flame“.
Another new feature is the color. Each model will come in a “champagne” hue. Classy. Beyond the symbolism, it is also highly technological, with a polished steel lower section and a bead-blasted steel upper section, all covered with a high-tech coating. It is 70 cm high and weighs 1.5 kilos.
A final innovation is that it will be identical for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Two thousand examples will be manufactured in the ArcelorMittal group’s French factories: 1,500 for the Olympic event, 500 for its Paralympic counterpart.
Made from recycled steel, they will be manufactured in Châteauneuf, Loire, before travelling to the Florange plant in Moselle for the rolling stage. They are then shaped by a team of goldsmiths.
In line with its determination to reduce the event’s carbon footprint, the OCOG has significantly reduced production volumes – by a factor of five to six. It will not be possible for torchbearers to purchase torches once they have completed their portion of the relay. Torches will be reserved for relay partners, the departments crossed and OCOG sponsors.