ATHENS - The Olympic flame returned to Greece for the Handover Ceremony, where it was formally handed to French organizers in Athens ahead of the 2024 Paris Games.

The Handover Ceremony was held at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, an all-marble stadium where the first iteration of the modern Games was held in 1896. 

During the ceremony, Greek water polo player Ioannis Fountoulis lit a cauldron surrounded by the iconic venue before the flame was handed off to Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet. 

The flame's stop in Greece is one of many during the Olympic Torch Relay, an outstanding Olympic tradition that honors the Olympics' origins while celebrating the latest Games. 

After its stop in Athens, the Olympic flame will light a lantern before embarking on a 12-day sailing journey. The lantern will be shipped aboard the Belem and cross the Mediterranean Sea to Marseille.

Once in France, the Olympic Flame will travel through 65 French territories. The torch relay will end in Paris on July 26, the day of the Opening Ceremony.