British man proud to carry Paris Olympics torch in France

Alastair Rutt says he is honoured to represent Great Britain - although he is a little nervous after a knee injury

Alastair Rutt shown here at home in Southampton
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Alastair Rutt, a British citizen from Southampton, is due to carry the Olympic torch on Sunday (May 19) as part of one of the 68 steps to take the flame to Paris for the Games’ opening ceremony on July 26.

Mr Rutt, 46, is the only Briton and English-speaking citizen whose story has been promoted on Paris’ Summer Olympics website along with more than 400 personalities from civil society.

In total 11,000 people, counting both the Olympics and Paralympics, have been picked to carry the torch on a journey crossing 400 towns and cities, three oceans and into France’s overseas territories.

Read more: See the Olympic torch’s route around country

He will take part in the 11th step in the Hautes-Pyrenées department, taking the torch at Lannemezan, one of the last towns along the way, at a scheduled time of 15:36.

The step will start at 6:00 from the Pic du Midi de Bigorre, by way of Lourdes, Louit, Lac de L’Arrêt-Darré, Bagnères-de-Bigorre, Lannemezan, Cirque de Gavarnie up to Tarbes for a scheduled arrival at 19:20. “I am absolutely honoured to represent Great Britain even to a very small degree,” he told The Connexion.

He said he was not sure yet how many kilometres he would be covering and where he would pass on the torch to the other nine flame holders of the day.

Mr Rutt has been the senior manager of the One Toyota Business Team since January 2024 after joining in October 2020. The car manufacturer is one of the partners of the Olympics and the reason why he is taking part, having won an internal company tournament. 

Mr Rutt is most probably not the only British or English-speaking person who will be carrying the torch - the website lists only 404 of the 10,000 people of which 15 come from 13 foreign countries.

However a spokeswoman for the Games said his profile was a perfect fit. “Alastair Rutt was chosen because his story perfectly encapsulates one of the many selection criteria set to become a flame holder,” she told The Connexion.

Read more: MAPS: Who needs Paris Olympics 2024 QR access code, and how to get it

The criteria outlined include participation in sport, volunteering in work to integrate sport as part of daily activity, fighting for a more inclusive and sustainable society or participating in France’s international recognition.

Mr Rutt is passionate about sport, having enjoyed rugby, ju-jitsu, basketball, football, squash and skiing. Unfortunately, his practices have been impeded by five knee operations following a torn ligament while practising ju-jitsu.

“I am only really allowed to do swimming and cycling now,” he said, as confirmed by the 117.6 kilometres he cycled around Southampton in four hours and seven minutes last Sunday, his Strava page tracked.

“I am slightly nervous to have any problem with my knee during the run,” he said.

He has taken part in The Blue Lamp Trust, a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting and enhancing community safety in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, and is the treasury of FOSIS, a charity that advocates for better education for children.

Once back in Southampton, Mr Rutt has already signed up for two bike-rides single-day races next month to raise funds* for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, as part of the Toyota UK Charity Challenge.

He will race for the UK Velo 100 mile New Forest Sportive on June 8 and compete on the first day of the One Toyota Cycling Challenge on June 24, both races totalling 110 and 150 kilometres.

You can help Mr Rutt with his charity campaign at