Olympics-All set for Paris 2024 Games torch ceremony after sunny dress rehearsal

Paris 2024 Olympics - Rehearsal of the Olympic Flame Lighting Ceremony - Ancient Olympia, Greece - April 15, 2024 Greek actress Mary Mina, playing the role of High Priestess, holds the flame during the dress rehearsal of the Olympic Flame lighting ceremony for the Paris 2024 Olympics in Ancient Olympia Greece. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece (Reuters) - The torch for the Paris 2024 Olympics was lit by the sun's rays in a dress rehearsal in ancient Olympia on Monday ahead of Tuesday's official ceremony that will mark the final stretch to the Games in France.

A Greek actress playing the high priestess used a parabolic mirror and the sun’s rays to ignite the torch in the final rehearsal before Tuesday's traditional ceremony at the birthplace of the Olympic Games in ancient Greece.

The ceremony marks the start of a torch relay in Greece and France that will end in Paris for the start of the Games on July 26.

On Tuesday the flame will be lit in front of Greece's president of the republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou, the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) leadership and is unlikely to encounter any weather issues with warm temperatures and largely sunny skies.

In case of clouds that do not allow the use of the mirror to light the torch, the flame lit during the dress rehearsal is used as a backup.

After lighting the torch on Tuesday actress Mary Mina will then pass the flame to the first torchbearer, Olympic rowing champion Stefanos Ntouskos, at the edge of the ancient Olympic stadium for the start of an 11-day Greek relay.

The flame will then be handed over to Paris Games organisers in Athens on April 26 before spending a night at the French Embassy in the Greek capital and then departing the next day for France on board a three-masted ship, the ‘Belem’.

The Olympic flame will arrive in Marseille on May 8, with up to 150,000 people expected to attend the ceremony in the southern city's Old Port before the French leg of the relay begins.

Marseille, founded by the Greek settlers of Phocaea around 600 BC, will host the sailing competitions.

The French torch relay will last 68 days and will culminate with the lighting of the Olympic flame at the Games' opening ceremony on July 26.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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