GTE/GT alumnus Louis Chen running in the 2024 Paris Olympics torch relay

GTE/GT alumnus Louis Chen running in the 2024 Paris Olympics torch relay.

Louis Chen, a GTE dual-degree master's program alumnus (MS-ECE, 2014) will likely remain on an Olympic high the entire summer. After watching the celebrations on TV when the Olympic flame arrived in Marseille, France on May 8th, Chen was a torchbearer on May 12th in Istres, France. He'll volunteer throughout the summer as a member of the protocol team for select cycling events during the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.

Louis Chen, an alumnus of Georgia Tech-Europe’s dual-degree master’s program (MS ECE 2014, Georgia Tech and ENSEA), had the honor of carrying the Olympic flame during the torch relay leading up to this summer’s Paris Olympics. Chen was a torchbearer in the seventh leg of the relay on May 12 in Istres, France.

Chen excitedly watched on TV as the Olympic flame made landfall in Marseille, France, on May 8, after a 12-day journey from Athens aboard the Belem, a three-masted sailing ship, christened in 1896.

“Between the Patrouille de France (France’s version of the Blue Angels), the setting sun, and a dark sky that dissipated into a rainbow, the Olympic flame’s arrival in Marseille was larger-than-life,” said Chen. “It was simply magical!”

Chen’s connection to the Olympics runs deep. His father was the flag bearer for the Chinese team during the Parade of Nations at the opening ceremony of the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. It was only fitting that Louis was selected as a torchbearer for the Paris Olympics, running his leg of the relay in the south of France, where he grew up.

There are less than six degrees of separation between Georgia Tech-Europe and the Olympics. Sam Shelton, now a professor emeritus in Georgia Tech’s Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and director emeritus of the Georgia Tech Strategic Energy Institute, was tapped to design and engineer the Olympic torch for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

His groundbreaking design prompted the Olympic committee to invite him back to engineer the torch for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah! (Hear Sam Shelton speak about designing the torch for the Atlanta Games, on the 20th anniversary of the games in 2016.)

Cut to the Paris Olympics, where Georgia Tech-Europe’s corporate partner, ArcelorMittal, rolled the steel for the relay torches and Olympic cauldrons in its plant in Florange, France, near Metz, home of Georgia Tech-Europe.

And, this brings us back to Louis Chen…

Chen, who lives near Paris, ran his leg of the torch relay in the south of France, surrounded by family, minus his beloved father, who passed away when Chen was preparing for the entrance exam to the French “grandes écoles,” the French equivalent of the Ivy League.

“It was a very moving experience," he said. "I did not expect such fervor and so many people in Istres.” He continued, “It was a great honor, it was a lot of fun, and it was beyond everything I could imagine. I felt like a tiny spark in a fire much greater than me, and I felt blessed, empowered, and connected."

Louis Chen – “In one word, this event was Olympissimo!”

Chen will be busy as a member of the protocol team for the Olympic mountain bike, BMX, and track events at France’s national velodrome, with the events held in and around Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, just southwest of Paris.

If you missed Louis’ memorable Olympic moment in Istres, France, there is still time to join the festivities with a Georgia Tech-Europe connection – the torch relay will pass through Metz on June 27th!

As head of sales engineering, France, for Pricer, a Swedish company that provides in-store digitalization via an electronic shelf labeling system, Chen fondly reflects on his time at Georgia Tech-Europe. “Despite freezing in my Metz apartment when the gas company neglected to turn on the heat in the dead of winter, I enjoyed my semester at GT-Europe. The curriculum and the faculty were top-notch, although the courses were more difficult than I expected,” said Chen.

Traveling to the Atlanta campus for his final semester was a revelation. “It was more than just a study abroad experience. I discovered a new country and developed a taste for entrepreneurship at the Atlanta campus,” said Chen, adding, “Pricer’s U.S. headquarters is in Atlanta, for those who might be interested.”

Meanwhile, it could be some time before Louis comes down from his Olympic high. “The festivities in the small town of Istres, where I ran in the torch relay, were just as crazy as they were in Marseille.” Returning to Aix-en-Provence to continue celebrating with family, Chen said, “La flamme met le feu à la fête!,” which roughly translates to “the flame ignited the celebration!”

For those readers who understand French, a few words penned by Louis in alexandrine verse (IYKYK).

« Amitié… Fraternité… c’est comme l’Amour,
C’est une flamme qui s’entretient chaque jour.
Si mienne fut l’honneur de relayer la Flamme,
Tous, ce jour, relayaient ses valeurs et son âme ! »

Additional Images

GTE/GT alumnus Louis Chen showing his Yellow Jacket pride with the Olympic torch.

<p>GTE/GT alumnus Louis Chen showing is Yellow Jacket pride, after carrying the Olympic flame in the 2024 Paris Olympics torch relay.</p>

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GTE/GT alumnus Louis Chen with a commemorative ring from the 2024 Paris Olympics torch relay.

<p>GTE/GT alumnus Louis Chen with a commemorative ring from the 2024 Paris Olympics torch relay.</p>

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