President Vladimir Putin:
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen!
The Laureus World Sports Awards ceremony has just ended. And again I want to warmly congratulate the winners.
I also wish to express my sincere thanks to the leadership of the Laureus Academy, to Mr Moses and all of its representatives for their tremendous efforts.
For us it is extremely gratifying and important that Russia has now been drawn into the orbit of the Academy’s activities. As you know, Russia has always shared the highest ideals of sport. Our highest achievements in sports have always been accompanied by an intense national pride.
I was very pleased to see during the ceremony and to see now, in this room, people who are genuine sporting legends.
Over the last few years in politics, I have come to understand that, when nothing seems to work for tackling the most complex issues, sport always provides support and assistance.
Famous athletes today have become symbols of charitable and educational programmes, of socially-oriented companies, and are themselves directly involved in this work.
In conclusion I would like to thank all the organizers of today's event for the fact that you have made this ceremony into a real red-letter day.
I would like to propose a toast: to the new successes and achievements of the international sports movement Laureus and to the great unifying power of sport!