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Olympic Torch Reaches Tahiti Surf for Paris 2024 Surfing Event

Olympic torch Tahiti

PAPEETE: The Olympic torch made a historic landing in French Polynesia, bringing the flame to Tahiti, the site of the Paris 2024 surfing event.

Accompanied by the songs and dances of thousands of Tahitians braving the rain, the torch journeyed along the coast and ventured out to sea on Thursday.

The Paris 2024 Games will kick off nearly 16,000 kilometers (9,950 miles) away on July 26 with an Opening Ceremony along the Seine.

Tahiti’s famed Teahupo’o waves, known to reach two to three meters and occasionally more, will host the surfing competition from July 27 to 31.

Hira Teriinatoofa, French team coach and the first torchbearer, took over from local surfer Vahine Fierro, who carried the flame close to the iconic Teahupo’o wave.

Fierro, 24, a native of nearby Huahine, won the women’s Tahiti Pro last month, positioning herself as a top contender for Olympic gold.

“I’m passing my energy to the flame, so it reaches Vahine Fierro, Kauli Vaast, and Teuraiterai Tupaia,” said 11-year-old triathlete Kalea Crawford, the youngest local relay member, referencing the three Tahitian athletes who qualified for the Games.

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Concerns about a judges’ tower had threatened the Teahupo’o event’s cancellation last December. However, Polynesian President Moetai Brotherson, Sports Minister Nahema Temarii, and French government representative Eric Spitz, all holding Olympic torches, dispelled these fears on Thursday evening.

This marked the 31st stage of the torch relay across France and its territories. The torch left mainland France on June 7 and will return to Nice on Monday.

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