President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,
Allow me to warmly welcome you to St Petersburg; I am sincerely glad to welcome you to Russia. I hope that your stay here will leave you with the very best impressions. I hope too that work during the SportAccord International Convention will be fruitful and help promote the development of international sports – both elite and mass sport, especially among young people.
I know you have a very busy agenda. In particular, you assessed the prospects of different types of sports for inclusion in the programme of the 2020 Olympic Games. I know that the final decision will be made at a later date, but you have already provisionally recommended three sports for inclusion. They include wrestling, a favourite throughout the world’s 209 countries. I hope that your decision will be fair, justified, and help strengthen and develop Olympism, and the Olympic movement, which has always been based on ancient traditions. As we know, wrestling is a fundamental sport, and a traditional Olympic one.
I’m sure you were able to get acquainted with how preparations for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi are proceeding. Only eight months remain before they open. Athletes have entered the home stretch in the major sporting events of the year, while the Olympic venues and all necessary infrastructure are largely ready.
Together with Mr [IOC] President [Jacques Rogge] we were able to briefly exchange views on the preparations, and to look at the awards Olympians and Paralympians will receive: gold, silver and bronze medals. The medals incorporate some Russian traditions, traditions of Russian culture. I’m sure you, and the entire Olympic family, will all like them and, most importantly, the athletes will too.
We are determined to organise a real celebration in 2014, a celebration of sport worthy of its unique mission, namely uniting all people around truly important values: a healthy lifestyle, tolerance and equality. I hope that you, dear friends, will be able to see this for yourselves, and I would like to cordially invite you all to the Sochi Olympics in February 2014.
Once again, on behalf of Russia and St Petersburg, this magnificent city, I wish you successful work and enjoyable experiences.
Thank you for your attention.
International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge: Mr President, on behalf of the Olympic movement allow me to express our great sense of pride and honour for having you here today in St Petersburg.
We are indebted to the great support of the Russian Federation for sport. You have a prestigious past, but also a bright present, and an even brighter future. Your country will contribute a lot to the development of sport by staging great sport events. To begin with, the Sochi [Olympic] games. Then there will be the Formula One competition. Then there will be the World Championships of Athletics. There will be the University Games in Kazan. And there will also be the Rugby World Cup.
So, many competitions are going to be opened in your country. And I would be remiss of course not to mention the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and many more sport events, if I may say so. And you, we keep on calling you head of state, but you are also a great sportsman. You practice sport, you love sport, and definitely we feel very confident that the staging of the next Olympic Games will be a great success.
Mr President, the Olympic movement will be at your side, and at the side of the whole movement of the Russian Federation, to go through great successes. Thank you very much.