President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Dear friends!
Today we are seeing you off, formally seeing you off on your journey to the Olympic Games in Beijing. And we are seeing you off with great hopes for your success.
Everyone going to Beijing to defend the honour of Russian sport has already proved his and her world-class status. And we have every reason to expect brilliant exploits from you. Many Olympic records have our athletes' names attached to them. And in recent years the treasure chest of Russian sports awards has become very heavy indeed.
Of course, today we will not indulge in predictions. But all of you Olympians should know that we shall be cheering you on with all our hearts, that we believe in your victory, that we believe in your skill, that we believe in you!
Let me say a special word of encouragement to those participating in the Olympics for the first time. As we know, sport rewards audacity, and novices tend to be lucky. Be bold and conquer! Let the recent exploits of Russia's national football team serve as an example. Watching them recently we saw once again – and I mean the whole country saw – the patriotic heights to which sport can lift a whole people.
In the same way you, our Olympians, can also give us all great joy and the pride that comes with national unity.
Once again I want to emphasise: we are cheering for you with all our hearts.
In ancient Greece they called the Olympic Games the mother of competition and the father of justice. Very soon we will be hearing the Olympic oath, ”for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams“. And the words of this oath will bind not only you together. They will bring together millions of people here in the Russian Federation. Be assured of our support!
I am convinced that the Russian team will demonstrate in Beijing these genuine athletic qualities.
Best of luck to you and to all of us!
Dmitry Medvedev: Andrei [Kirilenko, captain of the Russian basketball team] has just said that the feelings experienced by any outstanding athlete, standing on the podium during the awards ceremony, are incomparable. Of course this is true, but you must believe that the feelings we experience as we watch you standing on the podium are incomparable as well. This is indeed a feeling of genuine love and pride for us, for the country, for our achievements. I sincerely believe that we, cheering you on here in Russia and there in Beijing, will be experiencing these feelings many times.
Once again good luck to you all!
Until we meet again in Moscow!