Olympics flame sets sail for France in final relay leg

The Olympic flame departs Greece on the sailing ship Belem for the 2024 Paris Games, from the port of Piraeus, Saturday. [Louiza Vradi/Reuters]

The Paris 2024 Olympic flame sailed for France on Saturday on board a three-masted ship to mark the final sprint of preparations ahead of the Olympic Games opening ceremony on July 26.

The "Belem" left the port of Piraeus in the morning for an 11-day voyage and will arrive in the southern city of Marseille, founded by the Greek settlers of Phocaea around 600 BC, on May 8.

Paris Games organizers had received the flame on Friday in a ceremony at Athens' Panathenaic stadium, site of the first modern Olympics in 1896, following last week's lighting in ancient Olympia that kicked off an 11-day Greek relay leg.

After a brief ceremony in Piraeus on Saturday the vessel set sail for France.

An estimated 150,000 spectators are expected to attend the ceremony at the Old Port of Marseille, which will host the Olympic sailing competitions and be the start of a 68-day...

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