Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet, IOC President Thomas Bach and eight-times Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt present the newly unveiled Torch while afloat on the River Seine today ©Getty Images

Hours after revealing the design of the Olympic Torch, Paris 2024 organisers, always keen on surprises, unveiled an unexpected guest of honour here for its first public appearance on a stretch of the River Seine that will be used for the Opening Ceremony in exactly a year’s time - Usain Bolt.

Jamaica’s eight-times Olympic gold medallist and 100 and 200 metres world record holder, who retired in 2017, was the first Torchbearer as he accompanied the International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and 100 French athletes on Le Paquebot, the boat on which France’s Olympic team will parade in the Opening Ceremony on July 26, 2024.

Bach, who has just arrived from a visit to the Olympic and Paralympic Village in Seine-Saint-Denis, is due to welcome nations to take part in the Games at a media conference tomorrow morning at the Paris 2024 headquarters.

"Everyone is supporting this Olympics," Bach said, referring both to the Government and the Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

"Paris 2024 does an extraordinary job, and I am confident in the French authorities."

Bach added: "The athletes are beginning to faire la fête (celebrate)."

The athletes’ celebrations were mirrored at the Port Debilly, just across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower, as they docked to greet 300 noisy, flag-waving members of Club Paris 2024, with Bolt holding centre stage - and the Torch.

Also present was the Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet and the French Minister of Sports and the Olympics, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra.

Among the French athletes past and present playing a key role in the proceedings were Rio 2016 boxing silver medallist Sarah Ourahmoune, Arnaud Assoumani, who has won Paralympic gold, silver and bronze in athletics jumping events, professional basketball player Sandrine Gruda, Luc Abalo, three-times Olympic handball gold medallist, Cecilia Berder, who won Tokyo 2020 silver and 2018 world gold in team fencing, and double Olympic handball gold medallist Jérôme Fernandez.

They made a guard of honour to welcome Bolt aboard - reportedly the legendary sprinter was ready to play the role without requiring payment.

"I'm excited to be here and I will be in Paris for the Games a year from now," he told all present as he held the Torch to his chest.

"We wanted this celebration to be exceptional with the greatest athletes in history," said Estanguet.

Meanwhile the man whose Torch design had been unveiled earlier in the day, Mathieu Lehanneur, described himself as "moved" by the events of the day, adding: "For six months I had it in hand and now it's like a child leaving."

He added, looking around the hectic and crowded jetty: "The Games start today."