Olympia [Greece], April 16 (ANI): In a traditional ceremony organised by the Hellenic Olympic Committee, the governing body of the Olympics in Greece, the flame of the Paris Olympics 2024 was lit at Olympia on Tuesday.

The summer Olympics will be held in Paris from July 26 to August 11 this year.

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During the ceremony, the second torchbearer, Laure Manaudou of France, a three-time Olympic medalist in swimming, took to the stage and received the lit-up flame from the first torchbearer, Greek rower Stefanos Ntouskos, who secured the men's singles sculls title at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, as per Olympics.com.

After a brief run with the flame, the French swimmer met the third torchbearer, Margaritis Schinas, vice president of the European Commission.

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The flame will now embark on a pan-Greece 11-day relay. More than 550 torchbearers will be carrying the flame till it reaches the final destination, the Panathenaic Stadium, for a handover ceremony.

https://twitter.com/Olympics/status/1780171572449267904

The Olympic flame will reach Athens ahead of the handover ceremony to the Paris 2024 organising committee on April 26. The flame will be kept at the French Embassy in Athens for a night before it leaves for Marseille, France, on Belem (a famous three-masted ship that first launched in 1896). The flame will arrive in France on May 8.

"What an honour to be the first French Torchbearer!" said Laure Manaudou, as quoted by Olympics.com.

"This is even more special for me as I have a strong connection with this country, where my sporting career took a decisive turn. Carrying the flame on the soil of Olympia, the ancient origin of the Games, brings back many memories and emotions. I am very proud to have represented France at this flame-lighting ceremony that marks the start of the countdown to the Games."

IOC President Thomas Bach said these will be the very first Olympic Games with full gender parity because the IOC allocated exactly 50 per cent of the places to female and male athletes.

"Olympic flame will carry this Olympic spirit from here, our ancient roots, through all of France and finally to Paris, making the City of Light shine even brighter. The Olympic flame will shine over the first Olympic Games inspired by our Olympic Agenda reforms from start to finish. These Olympic Games will be younger, more inclusive, more urban, and more sustainable," he said. (ANI)

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