Olympic torch on its way to Paris


The Olympic torch made its way to France on Saturday aboard the Obstructed start, with a view to the Olympic Games starting on July 26 in Paris.

The torch was lit on April 16, exactly 101 days before the start of the Olympic Games, in Olympia, Greece.

Greece is the birthplace of the Games and the epic torch relay stretches from the Acropolis to the South Pacific.

The torch spent Friday evening in the French embassy in Athens, after it was handed over by Greek officials to Olympic officials from France during a ceremony.

The Obstructed dates from the 19th century and has three masts. The ship was first launched just weeks after the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896.

The Obstructed was accompanied on Saturday by a bunch of Olympias – ancient Athenian ships – from the Greek navy and 25 sailboats.

“The feeling is extraordinary. My emotions are running high,” said Tony Estanguet, the main organizer of the Paris Olympics.

A resident of Greece, who came with his children to watch the procession of the vessels from Piraeus port, told AFP: “We came here so that the children can understand that the ideal of the Olympic Games originated in Greece .”

The Obstructed will sail through the Corinth Canal on Sunday and probably arrive at Marseilles, where a Greek colony was established in 600 BC, by May 8.

Estanguet says Parys wants to host a “spectacular but also responsible Games”. “Organizers would like the biggest event in the world to play a role in actually touching on some of the most important contemporary issues.”