Torch Relay Stage 33: Tony Estanguet - Proud in Martinique. PARIS 2024

After a stopover in Guadeloupe, the Maxi Banque Populaire XI set sail for Martinique. On board were a crew of French overseas athletes and Tony Estanguet, President of Paris 2024, with the French skippers Armel Le Cleac'h and Sébastien Josse back at the helm. Swimmer Coralie Balmy, London 2012 bronze medallist, lit the celebration cauldron in Fort-de-France.

Paris 2024 has joined forces with the partners of the Olympic Torch Relay to reach out to the French people around the globe through the Ocean Relay. Between 7 and 15 June, the Olympic torch crossed the Atlantic from Brest to Pointe-à-Pitre on board the Ultim Banque Populaire. Marine Lorphelin, Marie-José Pérec, Alexis Michalik and Hugo Roellinger lived the adventure of their lives. 

They are all under the command of Armel Le Cléac'h, a giant of ocean racing who, together with the famous French navigator Sébastien Josse, holds the world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe by a single-handed sailor in a monohull. 

Le Cleac'h and Josse were once again at the helm of the Ultim Banque Populaire's voyage between Guadeloupe and Martinique, with a crew made up of Overseas France athletes and a distinguished guest, Tony Estanguet, President of Paris 2024 and the ship's sponsor. This leg has highlighted the athletes from Overseas Territories who have put - and will continue to put - French sport on the map. 

They are Laura Flessel, a five-time Olympic medallist, including two gold medals at Atlanta 1996; Coralie Balmy, four-time European freestyle swimming champion, three-time Olympian and bronze medallist at London 2012; Kéni Pipérol-Dampied, who completed the 2022 Route du Rhum on a Class 40 sailboat that he built himself using 100% eco-friendly materials; and Thomas Debierre, ISA Junior World Champion in surfing. 

From Maurice Carlton and Marie-José Pérec to Lilian Thuram, Laura Flessel, Teddy Riner, Amandine Buchard and others, they have written their names in the history of French sport, which owes a debt of gratitude to the Overseas Territories. These are the lands where Roger Bambuck, Elvire Teza, Daniel Narcisse, Jean-Marc Mormeck, Malia Metella, Medhi Metella, Jackson Richardson and all the overseas champions, have made France proud and happy. 

After the Ultim Banque Populaire docked at Fort-de-France, the crew headed to Le Malecon, the celebration venue for today's Torch Relay stage. Coraly Balmy lit the cauldron to mark the historic arrival of the Olympic torch on the island. It was a powerful moment for Martinique, which is hosting the Olympic torch for the first time in its history.

The Olympic Torch Relay and its enthusiastic crew. PARIS 2024
The Olympic Torch Relay and its enthusiastic crew. PARIS 2024

Tony Estanguet was really happy and proud. "What a privilege it was to share this extraordinary moment with this legendary crew aboard the Maxi Banque Populaire. Neither I nor our four great champions have ever done anything like this before. These days in the Antilles are a golden opportunity to gauge the level of local support for our project. It's a real shot in the arm," he said. 

"Since the launch of the Paris 2024 project, we've been striving to unite all our people and territories. It was moving to see the warm welcome on the roads of Guadeloupe and Martinique, as it was to follow in French Guiana, Réunion and French Polynesia. Our overseas territories contribute to the wealth and diversity of our country and are a breeding ground for champions and medallists," added the President of the IOC.