The Grand Relais was jointly organized by the Departmental Council and the CDOS (Olympic and Sports Department Committee) of Lozère, both labeled “Terre de Jeux 2024”. This label was created in view of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, with the ambition to bring more sport into the everyday life of the French, as well as to celebrate and create gatherings around the country around the Games. With this in mind, and the fact that the Olympic flame will not go through Lozère, the department came up with the idea of creating this Grand Relais. “We quickly joined the processe”, explains Thibaut Fray, director of CDOS48.
Last winter, the department organized a creative competition for young people for the first time to come up with the baton for this event. After all, it is the logo of the Faculty Council that has been chosen thanks to a 3D printer and produced in the Olympic and Departmental colours.
660 km wide France
The CDOS then coordinated the organization of the eight stages of the Grand Relais connecting Montrodat to Paris. “This work took time, as we wanted to involve as many people upstream as possible on our journey and at the finish. specifies the director of the CDOS.
At the end of the 48 hours of sport in Montrodat, led by local committees and clubs and where about fifteen disciplines were represented, the Grand Relais started. The athletes therefore left the Euro-Mediterranean complex, which has been labeled a preparation center for the Games, especially in table tennis.
About thirty people, on foot, by bike or even on roller skis, took part in this first stage to the offices of the Department Council in Mende. The next day, the second stage linked Mende to Le Puy-en-Velay, with a stopover in Langogne. The Loz’elles, the association that aims to promote women’s sport, were present at this first course.
For the next stage, head towards Clermont-Ferrand. “There the athletes were already very tired, as the first three stages were the ones with the most height differences.‘ said Thibaut Fray. On the fourth day, the team reached Moulins and stopped halfway in Vichy to visit a sports complex.
On Wednesday the athletes went to Bourges. “We saw a very different landscape, with large plains. We left the causses, with a little less height and fatigue! We had a lovely sunny day there. By the way, we burned welljokes the director of CDOS 48.
Radical weather change the next day to reach Orléans. “It must have been a beautiful stage since we followed the banks of the Loire, and we had waterspouts‘ recalls Thibaut Fray. However, the torchbearers wanted to keep the podium,”but it was a wet relaylaughs the director of the CDOS. The athletes made a detour via Gien and the CROS (Olympic and Sport Regional Committee) of Centre-Val-de-Loire where they could present this event.
Friday was the last big stage of this relay. The team arrived at the Château de Fontainebleau, before going to the CNOSF (French National Olympic and Sports Committee). Finally, on Saturday 2 July, after having covered the last kilometers from the Maison du sport français, the symbolic arrival took place in front of the Maison de la Lozère.
On the eight stages, the torchbearers were warmly welcomed by the departmental elected officials and the local CDOS. “It was a wish on our part to associate the CDOS of every area crossed, in every department“Each Olympic Committee operates independently. The meeting with that of the Allier”,which is under reconstruction», show that there is a solidarity between them and that they can work together, something that currently happens only rarely or in an indirect way. “Thanks to this Grand Relais, we were able to establish much more precise contacts. This is how we see ourselves discussing the topic of sport and health with the president of the CDOS du Cher, it was an exchange of good practices“, says Thibaut Fray.
An inclusive event
“Throughout the week, the houses of La Colagne and Bouldoire were also involved in the process. It was an event where diversity and inclusion were very present. It was a somewhat crazy project with a lot of emotion. We realize that sport brings people together despite our differences. They haven’t seen each other for a week and we had a great time together.“, Thibaut Fray delights. The three CDOS employees certainly took part in the relay by running or pedaling, but they were mainly present, together with the CDOS president Robert Gély, to explain the logistics and safety of the twelve athletes present during the week. to ensure. A job that was not easy.
“It was an ambitious project that worked well. I think everyone who participated, whether it was on a weekday or a day, enjoyed it. They didn’t necessarily expect to meet so many peopleThibaut Fray reports. The Moulins athletics club, for example, had mobilized to make the last kilometers to the prefecture of Allier. “This Grand Relais was also a great way to exchange ideas with local associations. Some athletes have made an appointment for the Marvejols-Mende(Editor’s note the half marathon that took place on July 24)”, says the director of the CDOS.
“When we arrived in certain areas, people didn’t necessarily know how to use Lozère . had to positionjokes Thibaut Fray. This event has therefore put the department in the spotlight, especially from a sporting point of view, by highlighting the major events organized in the area and the Montrodat complex.
“At first they were surprised that we did this Grand Relais, but that made it possible to identify Lozère. In the end it provided a lot of ideas for the communities and CDOS we met. Many said to themselves: the Olympic flame has a certain price, why not opt for other actions around a relay race?“, emphasizes Thibaut Fray.
Because while the passage of the flame costs more than 150,000 euros to communities, for this Grand Relais the bill has been divided by ten. If such a relay race was a first in France, it is ultimately a multi-level success for this event. “We even got encouragement on the side of the road. It was good child, it was a nice party. No breakdowns, few falls, no injuries, just good stuff!summarizes the director of the CDOS. He continues: “The feedback was very positive. Many are already asking us if we are going to do a second one. Maybe not right away, it’s a lot of logistics and it takes a lot of energy!»
Among the national athletes, the initiative has also won, as the CDOS Lozère is the winner of the call for projects “Impact 2024” organized in particular by the CNOSF and Paris 2024.