Let the games begin.

Nothing says that quite like carrying the Olympic torch. The biannual relay is the ultimate hype ritual for the world's biggest event. The symbolism-steeped tradition was on display this week, as a newly lit flame began its 2,000-mile journey from Greece to Paris for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Carrying the torch, if only briefly, is a thrilling honor bestowed on a few.

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While Massachusetts has never hosted the Olympics (Boston put in an unsuccessful bid for 2024), it has welcomed the torch on the flame's journey elsewhere, most recently ahead of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

A 65-day nationwide relay bound for Utah brought the torch to Fall River and New Bedford on the SouthCoast, along with Plymouth, Quincy, Cambridge, Somerville and Boston. The date was December 27, 2001, and the country's wounds were still raw from the 9/11 terror attacks. The torch had been in New York City a day earlier before hitting Providence on its way east.

The flame, a reminder of the endurance of the human spirit, must have been extra strong that year.

Olympic Torch Relay X Scott
Getty Images

You can see the moment's significance in the eyes of beloved ESPN anchor Stuart Scott. A Getty photographer captured the award-winning sports broadcaster carrying the torch in, of all places, Fall River. Looking up at the torch, Scott smiled like a proud parent.

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Known for his smooth, high-energy delivery and catchphrases on air, Scott lived in Avon, Connecticut, close to ESPN's studios and about 120 miles west of Fall River. He didn't have to travel too far to be an Olympic torchbearer.

Scott, the father of Sydni and Taelor Scott, died in 2015 after a battle with cancer. He was 49.

Other notable torchbearers for the 2002 Olympics in other places included then-NBC anchor Ann Curry, Aretha Franklin and Curt Schilling.

The 2024 Summer Olympics run from June 26 to August 11 in Paris. Boston wasn't the only reject. In 2014, Fall River made its own pitch for the festivities. 

Los Angeles is scheduled to host the next Summer Olympics in 2028.

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