The Russian flag was raised during the ceremony. The President then addressed his words of greetings and support to the Russian athletes.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,
Only one-and-a-half days remain now until the opening of this year’s biggest sporting event – the XXII Sochi Winter Olympics. Russia has spent 7 years preparing for this moment. These Games became a huge project for the entire country.
It makes me especially happy to see that there was complete consensus, as they say in such cases, on the idea of holding these Games and hosting this event. This became a major industrial and construction project, the biggest construction site in the world. We had to build everything practically from scratch. Building in an open field is not so hard, but building the mountain cluster was a very difficult task.
New high-tech sports facilities were built from scratch, as were two clusters to house the athletes, one here in the Imeretin Valley beside the sea, and the other in the mountains. This work is all complete now and Russia is ready to host the Games.
I want now to address these words to you, the sportspeople, the members of our national team. Today, we are raising the Russian flag. As you know, the flag is always raised when the country’s national team arrives at the Games. Our hundreds, thousands and millions of fans will all be watching you and following closely your every performance. We count on you and place our hopes in you. We have a young and very promising team and I am confident that you will do everything you can to win.
Of course the main thing is an open, honest and courageous fight, and I know that you have what it takes here. You will achieve the best results of your sporting careers, and I hope very much that this difficult and responsible work will bring you pleasure too and that you will be happy with the results of your efforts.
Today, we are seeing top-level sport before our very eyes, but what you do never ceases to amaze us. What you do pushes human ability to its limits and is on a par with the skill and arts of the circus at the minimum. This is a great delight for all sports fans.
I wish you good luck, because apart from courage and determination, luck is important too in sport, and so I hope that luck will always be on your side.
I wish you success and all the very best!