Only 2,000 Torches will  be produced for the Paris 2024 Torch Relays ©Paris 2024

Paris 2024 officials have defended their decision to produce only 2,000 Olympic and Paralympic Torches and not offer them to bearers after the journey of the Olympic Flame next year.

Some 11,000 bearers are expected to carry the Flame during the Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays.

"It was a real discussion, a key element it took us a few months to discuss," Paris 2024 director of celebrations Delphine Moulin revealed.

"We knew that our Torch is a real aspect to propose as a legacy as an aspirational element, but at the same time our promise in Paris 2024 is to try and be sustainable."

Paris 2024 consulted the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) before deciding to restrict production of the operational Torches to approximately 2,000.

Some replicas are also likely to be produced.

"It was a long discussion with the IOC and IPC but I think we took a right decision, we do this balance between sustainability and legacy," Moulin added.

Instead of a Torch, Paris expect to offer a symbolic memento of the Relay to each participant as a souvenir.

As the numbers have been reduced, the 2,000 Torches will not be recycled but it is expected that one will be presented to each town and community which hosts the Relay.

"The symbol we are going to offer will be great, this element will be the legacy we are going to offer," Moulin said.

"For the cities which are going to have the relay, we will offer one Torch, we hope this is going to do this legacy locally."

Other Torches will also be presented to sponsors and stakeholders.

Moulin claimed that the price of the Torches had also been considered.

"It was quite expensive and not everybody was able to buy before," she said.

"The IOC was putting the price of the previous Games of €750 (£650/$830) as the price for a Torch bearer to be able to buy and the cost to produce the Torch is higher than this price, so its not something cheap, we are not talking about something which is €50 (£43/$55)."

It is anticipated that Torches in the Paris 2024 Relay will be re-used approximately 10 times.

The Torches have a light champagne colour and are to be treated by use of a coating, using a process known as physical vapour deposition (PVD) to prevent stains or tarnishing.

"This was one of our biggest concerns," Paris 2024 head of design Joachim Roncin admitted.

Torch designer Matthieu Lehanneur added, "It was important to maintain the perfect colour.

"For that we used PVD which allows to easy clean continuously the Torch and be sure that the first user of the Torch and the tenth user of the Torch will have the same colour, and not going from champagne to black coffee."

Only 33 Torches were used for the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble despite an expansive relay of over 7,000 kilometres ©Getty Images
Only 33 Torches were used for the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble despite an expansive relay of over 7,000 kilometres ©Getty Images

When the Torch Relay was introduced for berlin 1936, each Torch was inscribed with a message of thanks to the bearer, a convention followed for London 1948.

In 1952 however, the organisers of the Helsinki Games decided to cut down on the use of Torches.

"The Organising Committee ordered only a small number of Torches of special construction, with attachable fuel canisters, by using fuel canisters and exchanging Torches every 20 minutes, the number of Torches could be reduced to 22," the 1953 official report said.

This is believed to be the smallest number of Torches used, although figures have been disputed in recent years.

In 1956, Torches were also re-used for the Relay to Melbourne.

Some 3,000 participants were presented with medallions as a souvenir.

There is a precedent for reducing the number of Torches from a previous Games in French soil.

The official report records that for the 1968 Winter Games in Grenoble, only 33 Torches were re-used for a relay which covered some 7,222 kilometres.

At Los Angeles 1984, runners were first invited to purchase the Torch as part of a Youth Legacy Kilometre scheme.

It proved the first mass participation in a domestic Relay which featured 3,636 runners.

It was a template followed by all subsequent Games.

The Relay to Paris 2024 is due to begin at Ancient Olympia in Greece on April 16 next year.