Speaking at the opening ceremony at the Bolshoi Theatre, the Russian President noted the huge creative role of the International Olympic Committee in promoting peace, friendship, respect and cooperation among nations. He expressed his appreciation to the IOC members for the decision to hold the session in Moscow.
Mr Putin presented the Order of Honour to IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch. He said that the head of the International Olympic Committee was being decorated in tribute to his outstanding contribution to preserving the ideas of the Olympic movement and the development of sports.
Earlier in the day President Putin met with Juan Antonio Samaranch, members of the International Olympic Committee, the heads of international sporting federations, honorary IOC members, as well as representatives of cities that are vying for the right to host 2008 Olympic Games. The meeting took place at the St George Hall at the Grand Kremlin Palace.