Greece’s Olympic Committee (HOC) announced that Stefanos Ntouskos will serve as the inaugural torchbearer for the Paris 2024 Olympics relay. Ntouskos is the Olympic gold medalist in the men’s single sculls at the 2021 Tokyo Games.
The lighting ceremony for the Olympic flame is scheduled to take place in Greece’s Olympia, the historical birthplace of the ancient Games, on April 16th. The traditional ceremony involves an actress portraying a high priestess who utilizes a parabolic mirror and sunlight to ignite the torch.
At the ancient Olympic stadium in Olympia, Ntouskos will receive the flame from the high priestess. Following an eleven-day relay spanning mainland Greece and seven islands and involving six hundred torchbearers, the flame will be transferred to the Paris Games organizers in Athens on April 26th. The final torchbearer for this leg will be Ioannis Fountoulis, an Olympic silver medalist in water polo.
🔴FRANCE 🇫🇷| #JO2024: the first bearer of the Olympic flame revealed this Wednesday : the Greek @Stefanos Ntouskos, 26yo, Olympic rowing champion in Tokyo is chosen by the Hellenic Olympic Committee (COH) to light the torch on 2024, April 16, on the site of ancient #Olympia. pic.twitter.com/YtPSJ9rTFk
— Nanana365 (@nanana365media) November 22, 2023
Post-handover, the flame will embark on a journey aboard the “Belem,” a three-masted ship, to Marseille, the French port city where Olympic sailing competitions are set to occur. This marks the commencement of the French segment of the relay leading up to the Paris Olympics, scheduled from July 26th to August 11th.
Established by the Greeks around 600 BC, the expansive port city of Marseille in southern France was established when the initial wave of immigrants arrived, forming a trading colony. This occurred during a period when numerous Phocaeans departed their native land in Asia Minor and settled along the northern shores of the Western Mediterranean.
Olympic flame lighting ceremony in Olympia, Greece. pic.twitter.com/P2zLrcTDqz
— Return to the Mediterranean🏺 (@Return2Med) September 15, 2021
Bedbug Issue Before the Paris Olympic Games
As was previously reported, a bedbug problem had spread in Paris and other cities in France, causing fears of insects and safety concerns prior to the Olympic Games. Reports of bedbugs in Paris had been increasing over the past few years, particularly during late summer when a surge in travel led to unwitting transportation of these pests in luggage.
The issue extended to Paris movie theaters and trains. There were unconfirmed reports followed by serious consideration of the problem by the local government as well as by President Emmanuel Macron’s government. Furthermore, according to the BBC, commuters on the Paris subway inspected their seats for bedbugs, and some opted to stand instead.
Alarming stories and videos circulated on the internet, turning the bedbug problem into a nationwide crisis that impacted movie theater attendance and prompting subway commuters to inspect seats for bedbugs.
Despite heightened awareness, experts acknowledged the issue had also been exaggerated. They have emphasized that the resurgence of bedbugs is a global issue linked to factors such as globalization, container trade, tourism, and immigration.