President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Bach,
First of all, I would like to thank President Bach for his hospitality. Today, you are our host in this city and in this hall.
Naturally, I would also like to thank you, as well as Mr Jacques Rogge, your predecessor as President of the International Olympic Committee, for your active, engaged participation in our extensive joint work.
I feel it is imperative to once again stress the constructive, highly friendly nature of relations between the International Olympic Committee and the Russian Federation. Complete mutual understanding and constant, close communication greatly helped us bring the Olympic project to fruition and fulfil all the obligations our nation took on in Guatemala in 2007.
The Russian Olympic project has become truly unique in many ways. Much here was done for the first time ever. I am referring, among other things, to the most modern standards, technologies and technical solutions. Naturally, our objective was also to present Russia to the world: a country that is proud of its centuries-long traditions and is oriented toward the future. It is a nation that presents amazing harmony and unity in all its diversity.
”Russia has been striving to implement its Olympic project to the maximum. It has done everything to make the Sochi Olympics a spectacular, unforgettable event. And we believe that these Games will be exactly that.“
It is deeply symbolic for us that you, Mr Bach, have proclaimed that the motto for your work as President of the International Olympic Committee is “Unity in Diversity.”
This motto is close to the heart of every Russian because the fates of many peoples are intertwined in our country and the Olympic values, such as mutual respect, fairness, and peace for all time, are the foundation of our national culture and national character.
I think this largely explains why Russians share such love for sport and everything related to it, and are happy to host athletic competitions of the highest class and level.
Russia has gained a wealth of experience in holding major international events. I am confident that participants and guests at Kazan’s Universiade, the figure skating and athletics championships, and other major sports celebrations recently held in our country have been able to fully appreciate our organisational abilities and our traditional Russian hospitality.
In the near future, Russia will be hosting the world championships in hockey, bobsleigh and skeleton, football and the Winter Universiade. I have no doubt that they will be held in an atmosphere of strong emotions and in strict compliance with all regulations and requirements.
However, these are challenges for the future. Today, we are preparing for the opening of the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi; we have only a few more hours before they begin. I don’t think I’d be mistaken in suggesting that the whole world is eagerly awaiting this grand athletic event and feels its special atmosphere and positive energy.
Russia has been striving to implement its Olympic project to the maximum. It has done everything to make the Sochi Olympics a spectacular, unforgettable event. And we believe that these Games will be exactly that.
I want to thank you once again, President Bach, as well as all the members of the International Olympic Committee and everyone who has helped make Russia’s Olympic dream a reality.
Mr President, you have invited us to this reception and so I would like to propose a toast to you and Mrs Bach.
Let us drink to the fruitful cooperation between Russia and the International Olympic Committee and to the upcoming celebration of sport, peace and friendship!
Thank you very much.