Among the guests were world and European champions in volleyball, track and field, gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, swimming, water polo, diving, trampoline, rowing, modern pentathlon, and fencing.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Friends, good afternoon,
I was just talking with my Executive Office and trying to figure out who is present in this hall – we have nearly lost count. With my pencil out, I was checking who is present here in addition to those of you who recently won medals, as well as those who made excellent performances earlier, and in general, those of you present today. We have a great group of people here. First of all, I would like to sincerely congratulate all of you on the results you attained at the major international competitions.
Recently, I lamented that there are too few pleasant causes for meetings, but today, we have just that kind of happy cause. Indeed, we have recently had a good number of such causes. I will try to mention everyone at least briefly. If I miss anyone, please don’t be offended; just give us your name.
I will begin by mentioning something that just happened: three days ago, our female volleyball players triumphed at the world championship in Japan. I was there too, but I didn’t see anything, because at that moment I was flying in a plane. But when I arrived, my colleagues who were meeting me told me about this great victory. And indeed, all of the players did a fantastic job. Ekaterina Gamova was named the best player of the championship, and naturally, I must also mention coach Vladimir Kuzyutkin. Let’s all congratulate them. This is a very recent event. Granted, this applause generally applies to everyone present here.
Overall, this summer and autumn have yielded many victories. The rhythmic gymnastics team won first place at the world championships in Moscow, and our pentathlon athletes won the 50th world championship in China. Our gymnasts, wrestlers, and canoe and kayak rowers had great results. Our female water polo team won the European championships for the third year in a row. I would also like to note the successful results of our male swimmers, boxers, and athletes competing in diving, trampoline, weightlifting, gymnastics, and fencing. I think I mentioned everyone. If there is somebody I missed, please let me know.
In any case, you truly did an excellent job. And it is a real pleasure for me to welcome you today in the Kremlin, to see you in this hall, where I usually present state decorations, where we usually hear solemn music while our outstanding citizens receive those state decorations. I hope that very soon, you will also be hearing that same music.
There are many factors that go into your success. You know for yourselves what those are; it is not up to me to tell you about perseverance, persistence, toughness, discipline, and being demanding of yourselves. What else do you need? I suppose that you also need a brilliant team of coaches and everyone who helps you. With all this and the will to win, it is possible to reach the kinds of results that you have achieved.
There is another important factor which, for some reason, is rarely mentioned, but which is certainly important for any athlete, both in team sports and individual events: fans, and support from the stands. This support should not go out of limits, but should be reassuring, good-hearted and very attentive, both when you win and when you do not succeed, which is something that happens to everyone: athletes, politicians, and everybody else.
Today, you are already accomplished athletes, and each of you has your own story of success, even if it is brief. And if you have a success story, it means that many people look to you as an example – both children and adults. I would like you to repeat your success stories many more times throughout your lives, to be successful as athletes and simply as citizens of our nation. That is what I would like to say to you today.
I want to once again sincerely congratulate you on your outstanding performances. I wish you all good health and success in your sports.