The first details of the Paris 2024 Olympic torch relay were revealed on Tuesday.
The torch relay will reportedly take place across 70 to 80 days leading up to the opening ceremony on July 26, 2024. According to L’Equipe, there will be about 700 cities along the route, which will be finalized next year. About 12,000 total runners will be involved in the relay.
The initial aim was to carry the torch to all 102 regions of France — 96 on land as well as the six islands — but some passed on the opportunity due to the support costs of $150,000 associated with it. As it currently stands, the relay will pass through about 60 regions of France. It will also visit the surfing site in Tahiti.
The flame will travel from Greece to France by boat, “in line with the principle of sustainability that guides everything the Paris organizing committee does, especially concerning the torch relay.” There are about 1,300 miles separating Athens and Paris.
Still, the relay figures to rack up quite the bill. Costs are expected to be roughly $450,000 per day for a total of between $30-35 million.
As per tradition, the flame will be lit in Athens using the sun’s rays during a ceremony held within the old ruins of Olympia. The ceremony was started prior to the 1936 Summer Olympics and has been repeated prior to every Games since.
The last two Summer Olympic torch relays in Rio and Tokyo have spanned more than 12,000 miles each, while the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang was one-tenth of that distance. The shortest torch relay was before the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, which took a route totaling less than 500 miles.
Some Olympic organizing committees involved several countries in the torch relay route in the past, but such collaborations have been restricted in the wake of protests at several international sites of the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay on its way to Beijing.
The torch relay currently has two sponsors — Coca-Cola and French banking organization Groupe BPCE — but is searching for a third. Coca-Cola will play a role in the recruitment process, choosing young people from underprivileged parts of Paris and the surrounding area to participate in the relay.