Addresses at the presentation of International Olympic Committee members
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President Bach, friends, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to sincerely welcome you all to Sochi and to thank the President of the International Olympic Committee, Mr Bach, all IOC members and all employees of this highly respected organisation for your invaluable support in the course of the preparations for the XXII Winter Olympic Games.
During all the years that we were implementing our Olympic project you were always close, helping us in word and in deed, and together we have achieved a great deal.
The Sochi Olympics will leave behind a truly great legacy. They have not only changed the image of the city, making it more beautiful and comfortable, but have also given an enormous boost to its social, economic, cultural and environmental development. I have just been telling some colleagues that the environment in the region has improved not by mere percentage points – it is two, three, and according to some parameters, four times better now. This is all the result of the work done here. I am referring to the quality of the roads, which means reduced emissions, transition to more environmentally friendly fuels (such as natural gas), and the creation of waste treatment facilities; the air is now three to four times cleaner, and even the water in the mountain rivers has changed for the better; there are no more burning landfills.
I am confident that the Games, which are to begin in two days, will become an important page in the history of cooperation between Russia and the IOC. We value the trust and friendly and fruitful dialogue we have developed from the start with the support of Mr Rogge, who is modestly standing back there among the other participants of this meeting and who has done so much to make it possible for Russia to host these Games, just as he has done a great deal for the organisation and preparation of Olympics all over the world. We are happy that you share our commitment to becoming a more active participant in shaping the international sports agenda and that you help us join in the efforts to develop sports around the world.
Today Russia has four representatives on the IOC. We regard this as a sign of special trust on the part of the International Olympic Committee.
I expect that our specialists’ extensive management experience and thorough knowledge of all aspects of the sports sphere will benefit both your reputable organisation and the entire Olympic and Paralympic movement.
I would like to assure you that Russia is always open to new ideas, projects and events in sports; we are ready to support and implement all the creative initiatives of our big common Olympic family.
Once again, I express my sincere gratitude for your valuable help.
I hope your stay in Russia will leave you with warm and happy memories, while the upcoming Games will be rich in remarkable, exciting and memorable events.
Thank you, once again, ladies and gentlemen, for your cooperation.
International Olympic Committee President THOMAS BACH: Your Excellency, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin,
Thank you very much for granting us the great honour of being with you this evening. We are on the eve of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. We can see that you, Russia, and the Russians have delivered. You have set the stage for the best winter athletes of the world. You have delivered on all the pledges you and your team made seven years ago to the International Olympic Committee. And we would very much like to congratulate you and to thank you for this outstanding achievement.
At the same time, I would like to thank the people of Russia, the people of Sochi and the Krasnodar Region, and especially the many volunteers, for the warm welcome they offered to us in the traditional Russian hospitality.
Russia has always been a great winter sport nation with a long record of achievement. The legacy of the Sochi Games will help future generations add to that record, to that record of success, for many years to come. These Games – and you have mentioned it, Mr President – these Games will also help achieve the goal of transforming a whole region into a year-round destination for sports, conventions and recreation.
None of this would have been possible without your personal involvement. Thank you for your strong commitment to the success of these Olympic Winter Games.
Your passion for sport is evident. You are not just a keen observer of sport; you are, the people wrote to me here, an active participant. But, may I say, you are an athlete, and an inspiring role model for millions of people throughout this vast nation. With the Sochi Games, Russia is opening a new chapter in its long and glorious Olympic history that dates back from the founding of the modern Olympic movement in 1894. We all look forward and we wish you and us a joyous celebration of sport and Olympic values in the new Russia.
Thank you very much, Mr President.