From Olympia to Marseille: ILCA and the Journey of the Olympic Flame

Angoulème, France – Bridging ancient tradition with modern excitement, the Olympic Flame has embarked on its epic journey from the historic grounds of Olympia, Greece, to the bustling port city of Marseille, France where ILCA sailors will compete in the 2024 Olympic Games.

The flame’s voyage begins in the birthplace of the Olympics, where it is ceremoniously lit in Olympia, Greece, marking the start of its odyssey. From there, it makes its way to Athens, where it is entrusted to the care of the French on the majestic tall ship, “The Belem,” a vessel steeped in maritime history and elegance.

As the ship docks in Marseille, the heart of French sailing, anticipation mounts for the upcoming sailing competitions. But the flame’s journey doesn’t end there. It becomes a beacon of inspiration as it traverses the length and breadth of France until the 26th of July for the opening ceremony, carried by dedicated Olympic Flame bearers in a relay known as “Le Relais de la flamme.”

Jean-Luc Michon, carrying the torch in France

One such bearer is World Council member Jean-Luc Michon, ILCA sailor since 1979, and a stalwart figure in the sailing community as EurILCA Chairman and 2024 Olympic Sailing Equipment Coordinator. Jean-Luc was also the Laser/ILCA Class measurer at 4 Olympic games (Athens 2004, Pekin 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016). Having dedicated decades to the sport as a sailor, judge, official, and administrator, Jean-Luc embodies the Olympic spirit. His journey to carry the flame is a personal honor and a testament to his lifelong commitment to sailing and supporting Europeans sailing in the Olympics.

For Jean-Luc, the experience of carrying the Olympic Flame is a deeply emotional and profoundly meaningful one. As he carried the torch through the streets of Angoulème, near his hometown of La Rochelle, he was surrounded by the warmth of community and the shared legacy of the Olympics. It’s a moment he will cherish forever, made all the more special by the presence of friends, family, and fellow sailors.

Reflecting on the significance of the occasion, Jean-Luc expresses his gratitude to Serge Raphalen, the sailing president of his region, who nominated him as a flame bearer. For Jean-Luc, this journey is not just about carrying a torch; it’s about passing on the flame of inspiration and unity to future generations.

As the Olympic Flame continues its journey, weaving its way through the fabric of French society, it serves as a reminder of the power of sport to unite, inspire, and transcend boundaries. In Marseille, where Jean-Luc is instrumental in preparing for the Paris 2024 Olympics, the flame burns brighter than ever, illuminating the path to a future filled with hope, camaraderie, and the enduring spirit of the Olympics.

Follow the Olympic Torch here!