Saying he was looking forward to getting firsthand feedback of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games from the athletes, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach today moved into his room in the Olympic Village before enjoying a bite to eat with a group of Olympians at the Athlete Dining Hall.
“Staying here gives me direct access to the athletes,” President Bach said. “I hope to spend at least a couple of nights here, which will allow me to talk to the athletes and hear what they are experiencing. This is very important for me and it will provide lessons that can be applied at future editions of the Games.”
It is not the first time that President Bach has bedded down at an Olympic Village. As a gold medallist at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Summer Games, he lived with his fellow athletes for a month, an experience he looks back on fondly.
“The Olympic Village is where the Olympic spirit lives. It is where people of different nationalities and backgrounds live in peace and harmony. Everyone who has experienced it wants to experience it again,” he said.
President Bach spoke with a number of the athletes and National Olympic Committee delegates, who all gave full marks to the local organisers for the state of accommodations and competition venues. It was a sentiment the President echoed. “The sporting venues are state of the art, the Olympic Village looks great, and the compactness of these Games will make it an even more special atmosphere,” he said. “It is amazing to think that most of the athletes can get out of bed and walk to the competition venues in 10 minutes. This is something that I would have loved as an athlete.”