With Fighter Jets and an Astronaut, Paris Takes Baton From Tokyo for 2024


Tokyo has officially handed off the baton to Paris.

Sunday’s Closing Ceremony brought the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to a close and gave a spectacular glimpse of what’s to come at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The handoff from one Games to the next began with Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. Koike handed the Olympic flag to Bach, who in turn handed it to Hidalgo, before France’s flag was raised to the right of Japan’s to the sound of the French anthem.

From there, Paris got a chance to preview the next Summer Olympics with an artistic segment. The eight-minute display served as an invitation to the youth of the world to attend the next Games, and it did so in breathtaking fashion.

For the first time ever, the Closing Ceremony featured live celebrations from the next host city as the people of Paris and France embraced their role as host of the 2024 Olympics. Those Games will mark the 100-year anniversary of the last time the city hosted the event.

In another Olympic first, the national anthem of the future host country was played in film format, taking viewers on a musical journey through Paris. From the roof of the Stade de France to the Notre-Dame Cathedral, from the Louvre Museum to the skatepark on Square Diderot in Saint-Denis, the film showcased unexpected viewpoints of France’s capital city.

The French anthem ended with an out-of-this-world guest, too. Thomas Pesquet, an astronaut with the European Space Agency (ESA), played the last few notes of the Marseillaise on the saxophone all the way from the International Space Station.

The second film of the artistic segment took viewers over the Paris rooftops in the slipstream of a female BMX rider. The rider, like millions across the globe, looked ahead to 2024, when Paris’ landmarks will become stages for the world’s top athletes.

The segment ended at the Eiffel Tower. France’s elite air display team, the Patrouille de France, flew overhead, framing the tower while Emmanuel Macron, the president of the French Republic, delivered the Olympic motto: “Faster, Higher, Stronger — Together.”

Returning medalists from Tokyo 2020 and Tony Estanguet, the Paris 2024 President, took the stage of the Live des Jeux site at the Jardins du Trocadéro to celebrate the arrival of the Olympics in France.

Mother Nature prevented Paris from a live, record-breaking display on the Eiffel Tower.

Plans to raise the world’s biggest flag on Paris’ most famous attraction to end the presentation were dashed due to bad weather.

“Sadly, the weather conditions today mean that we will not be able to proceed with our plan to raise the flag on the Eiffel Tower safely,” a statement Paris 2024 said.

Instead, a CGI version of the flag on the Eiffel Tower was shown.

At 90m long and 60m wide, the Paris 2024 flag is nearly the size of a soccer field.

Paris will get its chance to officially kick off the next Summer Olympics in 1,083 days with the Opening Ceremony on July 26, 2024.

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