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Sunday, May 12, 2024

#SportyPeachy #FrancePeachy #ParisPeachy Stage 2 — Torch Relay — Olympic Torch Relay tackles second day on French soil in the crisp Mediterranean air

The Media Torch relay from the Paris Olympics Tells Whom You Know:
From Saint-Raphaël to Toulon and from the coast to the hinterland, the second leg of the Torch Relay, which visited the Var department, was a love letter to the Mediterranean. It was a stage fraught with emotions and action-packed moments in which culture, rugby and the group relay organised together with the French Disabled Sports Federation took centre stage. Marielle Goitschel, one of the most successful female Alpine skiers in history, carried the torch in Saint-Raphaël at the start of the day. Richard Virenque, one of the all-time greats of French cycling, and Domingo, a streamer with nearly 2 million followers, waved at the crowds lining the roads in Toulon. Charles Berling, an actor and folk hero from the region, lit the cauldron at the celebration venue in Toulon to wrap up the stage.

The Mediterranean permeates the towns and cities of Var, a department sprinkled with famous destinations for those eager to take a break from routine and recharge their batteries. It boasts a wide range of natural sites, running the whole gamut from the sea, rivers and lakes to mountains and forests. The Olympic torch offered a sneak peek of all these things during the day. The Olympic torch set out from Saint-Raphaël and hugged the coastline in Seyne-sur-Mer on its way to the Plage de l'Almanarre in Hyères, a favourite haunt for kitesurfers. It also ventured further inland and shone a light on the rich local heritage, zipping past the Olbia archaeological site in Hyères, the bastion of the Counts of Provence in Brignoles and the banks of Lac de Sainte-Croix, the third-largest lake in France.

Disabled sports at the heart of the group relay in Saint-Raphaël

The French Handisport Federation introduced spectators in the Centre for Sports Resources, Expertise and Performance (CREPS) in Boulouris to 24 of its licence-holders. The star of the day was Antoine Avati, a diehard football fan whose spastic diplegia has never stopped him from dreaming of winning a medal in the Games. At the tender age of 13, the captain got the action going at the helm of his team. Others included up-and-coming and established athletes such as Jean-Louis Boilot, who won bronze in the table tennis event at the Toronto Paralympic Games; the wheelchair rugby player Marion Parent; Charlotte Cocriamont, who earlier competed for France in boccia; Nicolas Jouanserre, a member of the French national wheelchair basketball team; and Makasidy Omar, who was on the team that represented France in the last Deaflympics. The group relay also paid tribute to people who work hard every day to beat the drum for disabled sports, such as Bernard Tassaro, who has channelled his energy into the parasport movement for more than 26 years, particularly on the Regional Parasport Committee of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur; as well as caregivers who support people with disabilities every day without fail, such as Mélanie Felz, a physiotherapist who leverages sport to help children with motor disabilities to bloom.
This symbolic occasion stands testament to the department's commitment to make sport accessible for all. In this sense, it is worth noting the Pomponiana Olbia Functional Rehabilitation Institute, which promotes inclusive sport for people with major disabilities. The take-home message is that everyone should be able to practise sport in a way that takes into account their abilities.

Toulon shines a spotlight on local culture and sports

A succession of more than 120 torchbearers completed the second leg of the Torch Relay in France, including local celebrities and athletes who have flown (and continue to fly) the flag for their region. Bernard Lemaître, the chairman of the Racing Club de Toulon, and Guillaume Mélenchon, the chairman of the Toulon Provence Méditerranée wheelchair rugby club, were the proud representatives of Toulon's rugby scene. The Alpine skiing champion Marielle Goitschel also made an appearance. A two-time Olympic gold medallist —including her triumph in the 1968 Games in Grenoble— and seven-time world champion, Marielle is a legend of sport in the Var department. Richard Virenque, who holds the record for the most victories in the king of the mountains classification of the Tour de France, made the crowds go wild in Toulon. A few slots later, it was Domingo, a streamer who is always up for a sporting challenge, who held the torch aloft.
The festivities continued at the celebration venue in Place de la Liberté. The actor and director Charles Berling, who leads the Théâtre Liberté in Toulon, ran the last segment of the stage and lit the cauldron!

A funambulist on the historic facades of Toulon and a Cultural Olympiad project

Antoine le Ménestrel treated thousands of people in Toulon and curious visitors to a couple of kaleidoscopic performances. The vertical dancer jumped from one roof to the next around Place de la Liberté before dancing on a zip wire spanning the entire square, from the Galeries Lafayette to the Grand Hôtel, for his Service à tous les étages show.The audience found itself at the heart of this experience, a full-blown artistic fusion of dance, street art, climbing and acrobatics. Later in the afternoon, the funambulist performed his  Lignes de vie  show on the facade of City Hall.
The Olympic torch will continue its journey in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department tomorrow. The highlights of the programme include a run around the citadel of Sisteron, a visit to the Haute-Provence Geopark and the Ubaye Valley, and the finish in Manosque, a Provençal town with character where the cauldron will be lit at the end of the day.
Photo credit: Paris 2024 / Iwan Perraudin / SIPA PRESS

Get all the photo and video content of the day from the Paris 2024 Content Library.
- Photo credits are included in the photo metadata.
- Footage package credit: France Télévisions — Paris 2024 / Credit: IOC


Celebration venue programme:
Open to the public from 3:30 to 7:45 pm
Free admission, limited capacity
3:30 pm: opening to the public
4–5:30 pm: local authorities' activities on the sports esplanade
5:45–6:50 pm: partners' activities on the sports esplanade
7:20–7:30: finish of the last runner

About Paris 2024

The mission of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024 Organising Committee, in accordance with the host city contract signed between the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Comité National Olympique et Sportif Français (CNOSF – French National Olympic and Sporting Committee) and the Ville de Paris municipal authorities, is to plan, organise, fund and deliver the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games are the greatest sporting event in the world, with unparalleled media impact. They bring together 10,500 Olympic athletes and 4,400 Paralympic athletes, respectively from 206 and 182 delegations, across five continents. They are watched by over 13 million spectators and 4 billion television viewers across the world, across a total of over 100,000 hours of TV broadcasting. They are without equal in sporting, economic and cultural events throughout the world, and this power helps to further their impact.

Set up in January 2018, Paris 2024 is headed by Tony Estanguet, three-time Olympic champion. It is run by a Board of Directors, on which sit all the founding members of the project: the CNOSF, Ville de Paris, the French Government, the Île-de-France regional authority, the CPSF, the Métropole du Grand Paris, the Conseil départemental de Seine Saint-Denis, representatives of the local authorities involved in the Games, civil society and corporate partners.

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