A few days ago, Tony Estanguet, the President of “Paris 2024”, together with the designer Mathieu Lehanneur and the production partner “ArcelorMittal”, presented the torch of next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris. According to an old tradition, the Olympic flame will again be lit by the rays of the sun in Olympia in Greece next year. It will then be taken to France, where the torch with the Olympic flame will be carried across the country by a total of 11,000 people (10,000 for the Olympic Games, 1,000 for the Paralympic Games) from 8 May 2024. After travelling thousands of kilometres, the torch will light the Olympic Cauldron of Fire at the Opening Ceremony. The ceremony will be repeated at the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games after another torch relay.
Mathieu Lehanneur, born in Rochefort-sur-Mer in 1974, was inspired by three symbols of the upcoming Games when designing the torch: Equality, Water and Peace. “Equality,” says Lehanneur, “is symbolised by perfect symmetry. Water is symbolised by the wave, relief and vibration effects. Peace is symbolised by the smoothness of the curves.” The champagne-coloured torch, according to the designer, is also meant to convey lightness: “We worked like sculptors, we didn’t want to add things. From the first idea, we wanted to focus on the essentials, to have as little material as possible and as much lightness as possible.” The torch, of which 2000 copies will be produced, is 70 centimetres long, has a diameter of 3.5 to 10 centimetres, weighs 1.5, kilograms and is fed by biopropane gas.
Designing the torch, says Lehanneur, is every designer’s dream, “which you only have once in a lifetime, like an extraordinary encounter with history”. The torch is “a mythical object that is equally ritual and magical”. As a symbol of cohesion and sharing, it plays a key role at the Games, he said: “It will travel thousands of kilometres, passed from person to person, on land and on water. For Paris 2024, and for the first time in its history, she plays with perfect symmetry and speaks to us to illustrate equality.”
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