Ukrainian athlete Maria Vysochanska carried the Olympic flame for the first time in France and became the leader of the European Union athletes' team.

This was reported by the National Olympic Committee.

They note that Vysochanska walked with the torch through the streets of Marseille alongside athletes from 27 EU countries. The gymnast dedicated her participation in the relay to her father, who fought for Donetsk Airport and now defends Ukraine in the ranks of the Armed Forces.

French Minister of Sports Amélie Ude-Käster called this gesture “a symbol of unity, hope, and solidarity”.

“This is a way to emphasize our solidarity with Ukraine at a time when it is suffering from a terrible invasion. It is a symbol of unity, hope, and solidarity. We want them to win”, she said.

Maria Vysochanska emphasized that it is a pride and extraordinary joy for her that Ukraine has become the 28th participating country.

“I was honored to carry the Olympic flame. It is very touching, and I am extremely happy”, she said.

Olympics will take place from July 26 to August 11. Paris will host the Summer Games for the third time in history and the first time since 1924.

It is worth noting that the Olympic torch relay in Marseille marked the beginning of an 11-week journey through France ahead of the opening ceremony of the XXXIII Summer Olympic Games.

Photo: National Olympic Committee