Some 25,000 volunteers representing all Russian regions and 60 foreign countries will work at various sites in Sochi during the Olympics.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, everyone.
I hope this will be a brief but substantial meeting. I want to keep it brief because there is really one reason for this meeting, and that is that I want to wish you all successful work at the Olympics.
I know that you are all well-prepared. For a start, the selection process was very tough. Of 200,000 applicants 25,000 were chosen, which makes for 8–9 people competing for each place. That is stiff competition. After making it through, you all received training at the 26 centres that we set up at various universities around the country. Many of you already worked at the London Olympics, the World Student Games in Kazan, or the World Athletics Championship in Moscow. In other words, you have built up experience.
But the biggest sports event in the world this season is of course the Olympic Games here in Russia, in Sochi. We are counting on you all very much here.
I just gave the figure of 25,000 volunteers. This is a big team and represents more than a third of the Games’ entire personnel. I want to say what no doubt sounds banal to you by now, as you would have heard it so many times already from your trainers and teachers: the volunteers play a big part in setting the atmosphere at the Games. Your success in setting the atmosphere will shape the mood too of the spectators and competitors. This is without question an important part of the overall Olympic programme. I wish you success.
I want to wish you success and I hope that you will have the necessary self-control and professionalism. Self-control is important because the competitions are a celebration of course, but at the same time always involve emotions and whatever internal problems among participants, guests and journalists. This inevitably affects the personnel too in one way or another, including you, the volunteers. You need to be aware of this and keep a sense of humour, keep a balanced state of mind and don’t let any emotions show except positive ones. This is not always easy, and to be honest, it is always a hard thing to do. I therefore wish you patience, professionalism and strength of spirit. Let me say again that we are really counting on you because such a lot depends on you.
I know that volunteers were selected in practically every part of the entire country, and nearly 60 foreign countries have also sent volunteers. This makes for a big international team of well-trained people who love what they are doing, and I once again wish you success.