the Olympic flame boarded the “Belem”, heading to Marseille | EUROtoday

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NOTe are in a bubble, the Olympic one, removed from our little habits and the darkish information photographs that jostle on our small display screen – wars in Ukraine and Gaza, trial of Donald Trump, and so forth. Our new world could be very gentle and considerably surreal. A universe, naive or kitsch, it relies upon. And that is happening on the finish of April, in Athens, cradle of the Olympic Games, the place the French got here in drive to get well the Olympic flame, and within the face of common Greek indifference. They all run behind this flame or a photograph. And if the 2, collectively, will be mixed, even higher.

Scenes seen, heard, earlier than the large departure of this fireplace for our areas, that are internet hosting the Olympic Games, the most important sporting competitors, from July 26 to August 11.

From “keepers of the flame” to “Olympic flame scouts”

“Have a good trip, the flame”, is how the officers of our nation communicate to her when touring within the Greek capital, even greeting her with a small wave of the hand; there are additionally these multi-medalist torchbearers on the Olympics, at all times in fine condition, who trot their regulation 250 meters at a snail's tempo; or this considerably specific vocabulary, new even to our ears, like this expression “guardians of the flame” (in actuality, brokers from the police who must not ever lose sight of the sacred fireplace of Olympism , even when the Minister of Sports needs to seem with it throughout stay tv broadcasts) to not be confused, please, with that of “flame scouts”, who solely accompany it.

During the handover of the flame to France by Greece, we additionally got here throughout, on the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens with its white marble seats and half empty, the “high priestess” in addition to her group of vestal virgins, all in robes lengthy. It was in truth the Greek actress Mary Mina, well-known in her nation, taking part in the official position of Olympic flame lighter. In the viewers, and below a powerful solar: youngsters in outfits evoking Antiquity…

Shh! it's a secret…

Then, there’s a good story, behind which hides one of many sponsors of the Games (the Savings Bank). It is extra all the way down to earth, and fewer immersed in fiction, even when the thing in query appeared out of step with the service provider boats and cruise ships surrounding it, on the port of Piraeus. On the event of the Olympic Games, the financial institution made accessible a ship belonging to one among its foundations: the Belem. It was constructed 100 and twenty-seven years in the past; it’s manufactured from wooden and metal; and it’s even categorized as a historic monument. His measurements? 58 meters in size; 8.80 width; its mast reaches 34 meters above sea stage.

On board this 22-sail ship is the standard crew from the service provider navy, however they’re accompanied by 15 younger individuals with troublesome life paths and in skilled reintegration. They have the potato. To supervise them, members of the Navy disembarked from Brest got here to develop the workforce.

Nikos Aliagas attends the departure of Belem for Marseille

Imagine, twelve days at sea with out expertise, with out wi-fi and with a single mission, which isn’t the least: convey the Olympic flame again to Marseille on May 8. It is housed in two small lanterns, which resemble these of underground miners and must not ever exit. But shh, we're letting you in on a secret, different lanterns have been despatched to Paris in case of unexpected circumstances…

The day of departure of Belem, this April 27, champions crowd collectively on the bridge and go unnoticed. They need their picture with the crew and the “young people”. In the pool of photographers, a identified face stands out, that of Nikos Aliagas. The host with Greek roots is provided to immortalize the second.

Once the pictures have been taken and the lanterns saved on level, this three-master was capable of go away for Marseille. Behind, a Greek galley and a flock of small boats to greet him like a conqueror of frigates. We hear on the radio: “Have a good arrival in Marseille”; “Have a nice trip to the Olympic flame.”