IOCStart date: 13 December 1991, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 8 February 1992, the Ceremonial Stadium, Albertville (France)
First torchbearer: Athanassios “Thanassis” Tsakiris, Olympic participant in biathlon (1992, 1994, 1998, 2010) and cross country skiing (1988, 1992).
Last torchbearers: Michel Platini, Olympic participant in football (1976) and François-Cyrille Grange.
Number of torchbearers: ~5,500 in France
Recruitment of torchbearers: The torchbearers had to be aged between 15 and 20. The organisers received 100,000 applications from all over France. Lots were drawn to choose the torchbearers.
Distance: ~5,700 km in France
Countries visited: Greece, France
Length: 41 cm
Composition: Steel alloy
Fuel: Gas: propylene, butane and propane. The burning time was 40 minutes.
Designer / Manufacturer: Philippe Starck / Ugine & Gabialex
Did you know? Made of gilded brass, the safety lamp was shaped like a miner’s lamp, with the emblems of the torch relay and the Albertville Games engraved on it. Its burning time was 14 hours. The safety lamps were made by the Arras Maxéi company.
Route design and details
The aim was to cover as much of France as possible by passing through all the regional capitals. Particular focus was placed on the areas with the biggest population and Savoie, which was hosting the Games. The 57 days of the relay in France echoed the 57 events at the Winter Games in Albertville.
On 14 December 1991, the flame landed in Paris aboard a supersonic Concorde coming from Athens. The first torchbearer on French soil was Catherine Marsall, world cycling champion in 1990. In the evening, the flame reached the Champs-Elysées, where it was carried to the applause of the 200,000 people watching.
On 28 December, in Normandy, between Le Havre and Rouen, the flame stopped at the Château de Mirville. A ceremony attended by almost 1,500 people including various personalities was organised in tribute to Pierre de Coubertin, who lived there for part of his childhood.
Did you know?
No fewer than 10 cauldrons were made for these Games: a main cauldron in Albertville, 8 metres high, 4.7 metres in diameter and weighing 1,300 kg, including the burners; plus nine smaller cauldrons for the other Olympic venues. During the Games, the main cauldron, atop a 23-metre mast, was placed at the edge of the Ceremonial Stadium. After the Games, it was moved to the Henry Dujol Olympic Park in Albertville. Like the torch, the cauldron was designed by Philippe Starck, based on the corolla of a lily flower.