On 26 July 2024, the Olympic flame will arrive on the banks of the River Seine, for the opening ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
“To tell you the truth, I had tears in my eyes because for me the Olympic Games are the history of sports,” says Matthieu Travers.
The 32-year-old, battling a genetic neuromuscular disease since birth, is one of the 11,000 torchbearers chosen for the upcoming Olympic Games set to take place in the French capital this summer.
“To think that in my own small way, for 200 metres, for 4 minutes, I’m going to be part of this history… When I heard that, I was very emotional” he said, expressing his deep connection to the event.
Despite grappling with health issues, advancements in science and technology have enabled him to stay engaged online, navigating the internet through voice commands. He also enjoys attending events at stadiums that accommodate disabilities, where he also often takes photographs.
Matthieu, looking back at his early years, remembered his parents being warned not to become too attached to him, as doctors didn’t expect him to live past the age of two. “But those doctors were quite mistaken,” he said, “because I’m still alive.”
He believes sports has been a driving force in defying doctors’ early predictions.
“Watching sports on TV kept me busy from a very early age, and it fascinated me. I always said to my family and friends: ‘I’m not going to die anyway, I’ve never been to the Olympics’.” he added.
Matthieu, eager to witness the Paralympic Games, envisions positive changes for people with disabilities. He believes that the Games can shed light on accessibility issues, citing past host cities like London and Beijing that prompted improvements in public transport accessibility.
While eagerly awaiting the arrival of the flame and athletes, Matthieu diligently maintains his YouTube channel, covering topics ranging from disability to home automation, and, of course, sports.
Watch our full Euronews correspondent report above.