The event was attended by athletes, coaches and heads of sports federations. The guest of honour at the ceremony was eight-time champion of the USSR, two-time Olympic champion, and world record holder in discus throw Nina Ponomareva (Romashkova).
The Olympic Games will take place from July 27 to August 12 in London. Russia’s team will compete in 34 of the 37 Summer Olympic sports.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon dear friends,
There are only a few days left before the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. And in the near future an entirely different lifestyle for all international and Russian sports fans will begin. I am very pleased to meet with our national team prior to the Games and to be able to wish you every success.
You have accomplished a lot to become members of Russia’s Olympic team. I must say – and you know this better than anyone else – that the fact that you are on the team already represents a great victory; you have already achieved a lot. But you have the chance to take one further step and to go for gold at this Olympics. This is what every athlete strives for. Hundreds of thousands of people in the stands, and millions in front of their television sets will be watching your performance, as will, without any undue exaggeration, the millions of sports fans in our country. And we'll all be expecting you to win, and to produce results.
Our athletes rightly hold many records. You know that we began participating in the Olympic Games in 1952 in Helsinki. And today we have here a person who performed at those Games and gave our team its first gold medal: Nina Ponomareva. Welcome.
Ms Ponomareva not only set a new Olympic record but, more importantly and more interestingly, eight years later in Rome she broke her own record and won again.
”I am sure that our Olympic team and each of you individually is shouldering a lot of responsibilities. I hope that thanks to your victories the flag of the Russian Federation will be raised as often as possible in London’s Olympic stadiums and that our national anthem will be heard there just as often.“
I am very pleased to welcome her here today to this hall in the Kremlin among our other Olympians. And I want to thank you for your past successes and victories, for being here today among us, and for acting as an example for a new generation of Russian Olympians. Thank you very much.
I am sure that our Olympic team and each of you individually is shouldering a lot of responsibilities. I hope that thanks to your victories the flag of the Russian Federation will be raised as often as possible in London’s Olympic stadiums and that our national anthem will be heard there just as often. I hope that you believe in yourselves just as millions of Russian fans believe in you.
Sports, especially high-level ones, are a lot of work, toil, discipline, and of course luck too, but most of all they require the belief in yourself and the ability to overcome one’s self. You have already proven many times that you can do this. Show us how you can do it again at the most important sports competitions, the Olympic Games. I wish you every success.
Thank you very much for your attention.
Dear friends, once again I would like to wish you every success.
There are 436 people on our team representing 34 different types of sports. There are more women than men here, but I'm sure that the men will prove themselves. We love you very much and will cheer hard for you.
The youngest member of our team is 15 and a half years old and the eldest is 51 (a jockey). Can you feel a difference? Anyone can win and everyone of you can win.
The Olympic Games is a special kind of competition. Of course, first and foremost results depend on skills, perseverance, training and preparation, but much depends on personal character and experience. You have absolutely everything. I wish you good luck!