Paris 2024 Torch Relay Test Event, a real success

Like the elite athletes, the Torch Relay has been fine-tuning its training, with a key test on 22 March. This first full one-day test was successfully carried out in the Aube, a unique area on the outskirts of Paris, where the final Torchbearer will finish in Troyes.

The test allowed the 400 or so participants - the Paris 2024 teams, the region's host communities, the Torch Relay's two Presenting Partners, Coca-Cola and Banque Populaire & Caisse d'Epargne, the sporting community and government departments - to rehearse together in preparation for spring 2024. 

To preserve the magic of the relay, the test was carried out with the torch unlit, as it will not be lit in public until the lighting ceremony at the Olympic Stadium on 16 April. Security remains as the main priority for the organisation.

This test was not an identical replica of the relay, but an operational and technical check to allow any necessary adjustments to be made before the start of the event. The people of Aube along the route got a taste of the celebrations that will be in store for them during the Relay! 

The route was very similar to the one planned for the official Relay day on 13 July. From the Abbey of Clairvaux in Ville-sous-la-Ferté to the Roger Couderc stadium in Nogent-sur-Seine, via the Nigloland theme park in Dolancourt, the 3 Vagues swimming pool in Romilly-sur-Seine, on the shores of the Lac d'Orient in Mesnil-Saint-Père or near the CIME (International Multisport and Climbing Complex) in Troyes, the route was designed to showcase the department's architectural, natural and sporting heritage.

The Torch Relay, at the Abbey of Clairvaux in Ville-sous-la-Ferté. PARIS 2024
The Torch Relay, at the Abbey of Clairvaux in Ville-sous-la-Ferté. PARIS 2024

Only the town of Ervy-le-Châtel - the seventh and final town on the 13 July route - was not visited in order to make the most of the day and give the teams valuable debriefing time. 

This day provided an opportunity to test the logistical and operational challenges of such a travelling event, and in particular the movement of the convoys on the roads of Aube. The Paris 2024 teams are delighted to have worked hand in hand with the police and local authorities to deliver an event that went off without a hitch. 

The day was also an opportunity to test the experience of the torchbearers, the main participants in the relay, thanks to the 90 selected for the occasion by the Department of Aube. From the moment they were picked up by the Paris 2024 team, to their arrival on the course and their return to the Torchbearer Centre, each volunteer was able to experience what it is like to be a torchbearer. 

This test event allowed the team relay system to take shape, in particular that of the Fédération Française de Danse, which will also be present on 13 July. On the esplanade of the Troyes Town Hall, 24 breakdancers performed a dance before passing the torch to each other in front of an enthusiastic audience. 

The Torch Relay is an important and historic part of the Olympic Games. PARIS 2024
The Torch Relay is an important and historic part of the Olympic Games. PARIS 2024

The presenting partners of the Torch Relay, Coca-Cola and Banque Populaire & Caisse d'Epargne, tested the movement of their promotional vehicles that will accompany the convoy each day. At the end of the day, the last torchbearer passed through Troyes with a guard of honour. In order to preserve a few surprises, the events at the venue and the lighting of the cauldron were not revealed. 

This test was also an opportunity for the public services to test all the security measures for the event. During the test, as on each day of the relay, police officers and gendarmes were permanently present around the flame to ensure safety. This included plain-clothes officers to provide close protection for the torchbearer.

The test highlighted the role of the Flame Guardians, who will ensure the flame's preservation. They were selected by the Ministry of the Interior and Overseas Territories from the ranks of the Gendarmerie Nationale, the Police Nationale and the Sécurité Civile, and a quarter of them by the Ministry of the Armed Forces. 

Tony Estanguet (right) is President of the Paris 2024 Organising Committee. PARIS 2024
Tony Estanguet (right) is President of the Paris 2024 Organising Committee. PARIS 2024

The Guardians of the Flame were able to practise the actions they will have to carry out every day during the relay in order to keep the flame alive (simulating the lighting of the torch, passing the flame between two torch bearers, etc.). 

Tony Estanguet, President of Paris 2024: "The Flame is ready to shine and light up our regions from 8 May 2024, thanks to the thousands of pioneers. Congratulations to all the teams involved in this test day, which allowed us to work in real conditions and test all our operational systems." 

"The results of this test are very encouraging and give us confidence for the future. The Relay is first and foremost a real team adventure, and I would like to thank everyone involved in the test for their commitment and especially the Aube department for their warm welcome. We can't wait to get started," he concluded.