Olympics-New costumes in revamped torch lighting ceremony for Paris 2024

By Thomson Reuters Mar 12, 2024 | 6:56 PM

ATHENS (Reuters) – Next month’s Paris 2024 Olympics flame lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia will showcase a new high priestess, redesigned costumes and fresh music as Greece looks to revamp the traditional ceremony.

The flame will be lit on April 16 in ancient Olympia, birthplace of the Games. In a traditional ceremony, actress Mary Mina playing the high priestess for the first time will use a parabolic mirror and the sun’s rays to ignite the torch.

“This is big honour for me. I hope to live up to the trust you placed in me,” Mina said in the ceremony’s presentation on Tuesday. “I am very lucky to now take the reins.”

The costumes Mina and her priestesses will wear also break with past ceremonies and will be two-toned — black and white — as opposed to the monochromatic white or light blue costumes of the past.

After the traditional lighting ceremony Mina will then pass the flame to the first torchbearer, Olympic rowing champion Stefanos Douskos, at the edge of the ancient Olympic stadium for the start of an 11-day Greek relay.

The flame will then be handed over to Paris Games organisers in Athens on April 26 before spending a night at the French Embassy in the Greek capital and then departing the next day for France on board a three-masted ship, the ‘Belem’.

The Olympic flame will arrive in Marseille on May 8, with up to 150,000 people expected to attend the ceremony in the southern city’s Old Port before the French leg of the relay begins.

Marseille, founded by the Greek settlers of Phocaea around 600 BC, will host the sailing competitions.

The French torch relay will last 68 days and will culminate with the lighting of the Olympic flame at the Games’ opening ceremony on July 26.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Toby Davis)