Marseille hosts Olympic torch relay with a touch of Olympique de Marseille

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10th May 2024 – (Marseilles) Following the arrival of the Olympic torch at the Vieux Port, the Olympic torch relay commenced its journey on French soil in Marseille, incorporating elements of the renowned football club Olympique de Marseille.

The first torchbearer of the day was Basile Boli, the former French international who etched his name in history by scoring the winning goal in the 1993 Champions League final for Marseille. Boli ignited the relay from the iconic Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde, expressing his excitement, stating, “It makes the heart beat and it’s fantastic. It’s the Olympic flame, a symbol of sport, unity, and everything we aspire for in the world.”

In a moment filled with symbolism and deep emotion, Boli passed the torch to Colette Cataldo, an 83-year-old devoted Olympique de Marseille supporter.

Approximately 200 torchbearers, including France’s former NBA superstar Tony Parker, participated in the relay throughout the port city.

Paris 2024 president Tony Estanguet emphasized the significance of a strong start in sports, expressing satisfaction with the relay’s beginning and declaring, “Now it’s on. Let’s go for a fantastic celebration.”

The relay reached its climax at the Stade Velodrome, the home of Olympique de Marseille, where Jean-Pierre Papin, the 1991 Ballon d’Or winner, commenced the relay from this iconic venue.

To conclude the day’s relay, former Cote d’Ivoire international and Marseille legend Didier Drogba served as the final torchbearer. Drogba lit the Olympic cauldron located just outside the stadium, marking a powerful conclusion to the day’s events.

France’s Sports Minister, Amelie Oudea-Castera, expressed pride in providing a sense of national pride and showcasing the country’s capabilities to the world, emphasizing the goal of bringing joy to people worldwide.