IOC President Thomas Bach, along with members of the IOC Executive Board and the IOC Athletes Commission, issued a call for peace from the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro today at the inauguration of the Olympic Truce Mural.
“This is where athletes from all over the world are living together in harmony,” the IOC President said. “This is where we see tolerance and solidarity in their purest form: athletes from every corner of the world, living together under one roof, sharing their excitement for the Games, making friends, sharing meals and their emotions. In doing so, the athletes set an example of peaceful co-existence to the whole world.”
The Truce Mural, a regular feature in the Olympic Village at all Games, serves a powerful symbol of the unifying power of sport and the Olympic Games. It also represents the United Nations’ Olympic Truce Resolution, which calls on all nations to cease hostilities and observe the Olympic Truce during the Olympic Games Rio 2016.
Olympic athletes from around the world will add their names to the Olympic Truce Mural during the Games.
President Bach said, “The Olympic Village shows us that a world of peace and solidarity is possible. So in this spirit, let us write our messages of hope on the Olympic Truce Mural, our messages for a better and more peaceful world.”
IOC Athletes Commission Chair Claudia Bokel added, “Sport shows by example how we can all peacefully co-exist, just as the athletes do in the Olympic Village during the Olympic Games.
Other ceremony participants included IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge; IOC Honorary member Carlos Nuzman, President of Rio 2016; and IOC member Nawal El Moutawakel, Chair of the Coordination Commission Olympic Games Rio 2016.
The IOC delegation also paid tribute to the members of the Refugee Olympic Team, 10 athletes who will compete in Rio de Janeiro under the Olympic flag.
“All refugees remind us just how important the Olympic Truce and the Olympic Value of peace are in our world today,” President Bach said. “The Refugee Olympic Team will represent the millions of refugees worldwide that have been left without a home because of conflict and war. In this way, the team will be a signal of hope for all refugees in the world.”
President Bach also took time out for lunch with athletes in the Olympic Village Dining Hall and inaugurated the new IOC Space, an area of the village that provides information on IOC programmes that support athletes. The IOC President, a gold medalist in fencing at the Olympic Games Montreal 1976, expressed a strong emotional connection to the Olympic Village and stays there as often as possible during the Games.“Everybody who has been living once in the Olympic Village always dreams about only one thing: to come back and to experience the great atmosphere in the Olympic Village again,” he said. “Every time I come to the Olympic Village, I relive those great memories of the time when I was an athlete.”