After the awards ceremony, Dmitry Medvedev spoke with Russian athletes – winners of international competitions.
The President also had a discussion with heads of international sports organisations.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, friends,
It is a great pleasure to welcome the President of the International Olympic Committee and the heads of international sports federations, as well as the best Russian athletes, who have given great performances at the championships.
Without exaggeration, your work defines the modern history of the Olympic movement and sport, and I am particularly pleased that our foreign guests present here share a friendly attitude towards our country, which is very important for us. Thank you for this, we value it highly.
Today, in front of all our athletes I want to present high state decorations for your outstanding contribution to the development of sport cooperation with our country. First I would like to mention Mr Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee.
Under your leadership over the past ten years the programmes of summer and winter Olympics have improved greatly while the Youth Olympic Games have given a new impetus to the entire Olympic movement.
We are very pleased that such awarding ceremony is taking place in Russia. I would also like to mention your other achievements: initiatives to strengthen cooperation between governments and NGOs in the development of sports, effective anti-doping programs and strategies, and a number of other very important decisions.
“Cooperation between Russia and the International Olympic Committee has reached a new level: we are preparing for the 2014 Sochi Olympics and I have no doubt that our efforts will be very successful and we will host great Olympic Games.”
Largely due to these steps, cooperation between Russia and the International Olympic Committee has reached a new level: we are preparing for the 2014 Sochi Olympics and I have no doubt that our efforts will be very successful and we will host great Olympic Games.
I also congratulate on receiving these high honours President of the International Weightlifting Federation Tamas Ajan, President of the International Association of Athletics Federations Lamine Diack and President of the International Ice Hockey Federation Rene Fasel.
You are doing a great deal to popularise the sports whose international federations you head. In Russia, these sports have a huge number of fans; there are plenty of athletes certainly, and a huge army of fans. The competitions being held in our country are a real celebration for millions of Russian people.
Once again I would like to congratulate you on receiving the state decorations.
Our meeting today is composed of two parts, so let me start by presenting the decorations to our dear guests and later we can talk.
Let's move on to the awards ceremony.
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Presenting state decorations, especially to such highly esteemed individuals, always creates a positive atmosphere, especially when our guests, the respected leaders of international sports organisations, speak about our country with such warmth. We are truly close friends, and that is wonderful.
I have to go back to our business, because present here are many of our athletes who won prizes at this year’s championships. Russia now ranks third in the unofficial team standings after China and the United States, which is certainly a good result.
On the eve of the London Olympics, our teams have conquered the highest step on the podiums of seventeen world championships in summer sports, and I would like to say a few words about that.
Russia has traditionally been strong in some sports – we could even say, very strong. But now we have seen victories in sports that Russian athletes have never won before, which gives us great satisfaction.
“On the eve of the London Olympics, our teams have conquered the highest step on the podiums of seventeen world championships in summer sports. The victories of the athletes strengthens Russia’s international prestige.”
Our athletics team won nine gold medals in Korea, repeating the brilliant achievement of the Soviet national team in 1991, with the runner Maria Savinova recognised as the Athlete of the Year in Europe.
We have also got used to excellent performances of our synchronised swimming team, but they surpassed themselves in Shanghai and won all the gold medals of the championship. That was also a remarkable achievement.
Our Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestlers also gave brilliant performances, as well the rhythmic gymnastics team, pentathletes, weightlifters, fencers, the trapshooters – well done, everyone.
Good results were also shown this season by our kayak and canoe rowers, judoists, gymnasts, archers, trampoline jumpers, boxers and swimmers.
The brilliant performance of our beach football players came as a pleasant surprise. Few people expected it, except, perhaps, the guys themselves. The performances of our bobsleigh, snowboarding and speedskating teams also deserve special mention.
Like everyone present here, I fully understand how tough it is to achieve these results, how much hard work stands behind them, and a quality mentioned by Mr Rene Fasel earlier, the word which sounds almost the same in every language: discipline. Discipline is an outstanding quality, and it is not only athletes who need to it. I’m sure that the athletes present here today are future politicians, state leaders, so you will need discipline in that other part of your life as well, there is no doubt about it.
Naturally, the work of the coaches also cannot be ignored, so I would like to thank the coaches present here. The victories of the athletes you coach strengthens Russia’s international prestige and helps promote not just the healthy lifestyle, but if you like, sets new standards for life and work in our country. That is also very important.
As you know, we pay a great deal of attention to sports, as our foreign friends and colleagues said earlier. We will certainly continue to promote sports in our country, both professional, high achievement sports and physical fitness. We will build modern sports centres and a large number of facilities for the competitions that will be held in our country – very big and complex competitions, but we will also build them because we believe it necessary.
Once again, I am happy to say that in recent years, when I travel around the country, every Governor starts to report on his achievements by showing me new sports facilities in the region. Some have very prominent centres, others are perhaps more modest, but absolutely every region has some sports facilities, that is a fact. I am therefore confident that these efforts will turn into achievements and victories of the Russian team at the upcoming international competitions.
Dear friends, the 40th General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees will begin its work in Sochi today, and it will be attended by our esteemed colleagues. In a few days, on November 25, the Olympic Ball will be held to celebrate the centennial of the Russian Olympic Committee. This is a very important date for our country and for our Olympic movement. I am sure that all of you present here perceive this date as your own holiday, so I would like to offer my sincere congratulations and wish you happiness and brilliant successes in your work.