President OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon, friends.
Paralympic athletes have been getting a lot of coverage, especially just lately. We have heard many times that the Paralympic athletes are more than simply sportspeople, and in addition to their mission in sports they play an important social role too. So much has already been said about this that it would not make sense for me now to repeat these same things, but there are nonetheless some words I simply must speak.
It would be impossible for me to list all of your achievements. In fact, you have relieved me of this task because you quite simply performed so impressively that there really is nothing I can add now. I cannot list here all of your brilliant performances at the Paralympics, but I absolutely must say that you gave us the best overall team result not only in the history of Russia’s Paralympic teams, but in the history of all national teams for as long as the Paralympics have been held.
The 80 medals that you won are the highest record of any national team in the whole Paralympic history. This includes 30 gold medals – a real fireworks display of medals. I congratulate you on this success from all my heart. Thank you very much.
One of the athletes addressed everyone here using exactly the right choice of words just now. He called you “heroes of sport”.
That’s exactly what you are – real heroes and certainly heroes of sport too. Thank you very much for everything you have accomplished at these Paralympic Games.
Thank you very much for the inspiration that you have given millions of people, who are ready to do as you do and not just engage in sport and fitness, but set the highest goals in life. You have shown us these high achievements.
Thank you very much.