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Eve McMahon to carry Olympic Flame

by Irish Sailing Team 9 May 10:09 BST
Eve Mcmahon © Irish Sailing Team

Celebrations are about to get under way in Marseille, France today as the city prepares for the arrival of the Olympic flame to French soil. Irish sailor, and Team Ireland Paris Scholar, Eve McMahon, has been selected by the French Embassy in Ireland as the Irish representative to participate in the Olympic Torch Relay as the flame embarks on a tour of France before arriving in Paris for the Opening Ceremony.

The Olympic flame is one of the most recognisable traditions of the Olympic Games and represents a link between the Modern and Ancient Olympics. Throughout the torch relay, the flame announces the Olympic Games and spreads a message of peace and friendship between people.

This year the flame was lit in Olympia, Greece, on the 16 April and following a tour of the home of the Olympics, made its way on board the Belem to Marseille. The Belem is Europe's oldest three-masted barque, and today it finishes its 12-day voyage from Piraeus to Marseille.

Interestingly, from an Irish perspective, the Belem was owned for thirty years by Ireland's Sir Ernest Guinness of the Guinness family, who was the Rear Commodore of the Royal St. George Yacht Club in what is now known as Dun Laoghaire, the base of Ireland's High-Performance Sailing team.

Marseille will host the Olympic sailing events this summer, and Team Ireland's sailing squad has based themselves there for the past few years, familiarising themselves with the location and conditions. Howth's McMahon will be one of the youngest members of the Irish Olympic team this summer, as she embarks on her first Olympic Games.

Speaking ahead of the Olympic Torch Relay, McMahon said, "I'm really excited and honoured to be invited to be the Irish representative in the Olympic Torch Relay as it arrives in France. The atmosphere in Marseille this week is incredible, and it really gives a taste of what to expect this summer. Being part of the Olympic torch relay is special, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and is even more significant as it is taking place where I have been based with training over the past number of years."

Ambassador of France in Ireland, Vincent GuƩrend said, "I am delighted to see Ireland represented by Eve McMahon in this wonderful event. The Olympic torch is arriving in Marseille, the French gate to the Mediterranean. Excitement is truly building for Paris 2024 and it promises to be an iconic edition of the Olympic and Paralympic games; 100 years after the previous edition held in Paris and 100 years after the first participation of Ireland in the games. The Franco-Irish friendship is no better symbolised than on the sports field and I am sure both counties will do our nations proud this summer. Vive le sport! Vive l'amitiƩ franco-irlandaise!"

Team Ireland Chef de Mission for Paris 2024, Gavin Noble, added, "The Olympic torch relay is an important element of the Games. Most people are familiar with the lighting of the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony, and the torch relay as it leads to that moment. We are delighted for Eve to be included in the relay as it makes its way around France and signifies the beginning of the Olympic celebrations in France."

The first torch for Paris 2024 Olympic Torch Relay was lit by the sun's rays on the 16 April 2024 during a ceremony in the sanctuary of Olympia, Greece, where the ancient Olympics were once held. The Olympic flame then headed to Athens to board the Belem and cross the Mediterranean Sea to Marseille.

On the 8 May 2024, the Olympic flame embarks on its epic journey across France, visiting 66 celebration sites, and more than 400 towns. Ireland's Eve McMahon will be one of the torchbearers bestowed with the honour of carrying the flame to its end destination on the 26 July at the Opening Ceremony in Paris, and will join fellow international athletes from across Europe in taking part in tomorrow's relay as the flame leaves Marseille.

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