The Olympic torch passes through Normandy American Cemetery

On May 30, 2024, the Olympic torch passed through Normandy American Cemetery carried by French cross-country athlete and active-duty military member Nicolas-Marie Baru. 


The Olympic torch arrived from the sea at Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer as part of the Olympic Torch Relay, which heralds the start of the games. Several French athletes--including Adèle Mezerette and Jeremy Desfrennes, as well as Maxime Wille, who is the great-grandson of Léon Gautier, the last member of the Kieffer commando to pass away--were involved in the passage of the Olympic torch from Omaha Beach to Normandy American Cemetery through the historical path that connects the beach to the cemetery.  

Approximately 1,300 school children gathered near the memorial to welcome the torch for this once-in-a-lifetime moment for many. The cemetery’s gardeners and interpretive guides were on site to support this unique opportunity, supporting the Olympic committee team down on the beach and escorting the public and school children through the cemetery. 

The Olympic torch was first lit at the Amsterdam Olympic Games of 1928, with the goal of bringing nations and people together around a unique occasion. Today, Baru, Mezerette, Desfrennes and Wille embodied the same message of unity as they walked in the footsteps of those who landed at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. 


Ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics, the Normandy American Cemetery interpretive guides have developed a series of temporary exhibit panels titled “World War II and the Olympics: a legacy of peace,” featuring several military members who represented the U.S. in the Olympic games. 

Stay tuned for more information.