International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach today underscored his confidence that the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi next February would be “excellent, unique and a perfect stage for the athletes to perform at their best.”
On his third day of a four-day visit to the Black Sea city, President Bach attended the unveiling of the Sochi 2014 Games-time uniforms and met with students of the Russian International Olympic University (RIOU). He spent the previous two days on venue tours of the coastal and mountain clusters and in meetings with Sochi 2014 organisers and government officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The progress the organisers have made since winning the right to host the Games seven years ago is tremendous, but more importantly, they have delivered on their commitment to place the athletes at the heart of these Games,” said President Bach, as the countdown clock hit 100 days to go to the start of the Games. “I can confidently say that all the athletes will be warmly welcomed and they will be suitably impressed with the Athletes’ Villages and competition venues. We can expect to see some terrific performances in February as a result.”
On Monday, President Putin and President Bach officially opened the Adler railway terminal, which will be the main artery linking the two clusters of sports venues during the Games. During a private meeting, President Bach received fresh assurances from President Putin that there will be no discrimination against the LGBT community during the Games.
“All visitors travelling to Sochi for the Games regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation will be welcomed here equally – this has been made very clear by the Russian authorities,” said President Bach. “The Games themselves are open to all, free of discrimination, and that applies to spectators, officials, media, and, of course, athletes. This is a principal pillar of the Olympic Movement that will be upheld in Sochi.”
President Bach was also pleased with the efforts of the local organisers to ensure a lasting legacy for Russia following the Games. This includes improved infrastructure, new sports facilities, an increase in volunteerism, and the RIOU, which opened earlier this year to train professionals in sport business management based specifically on the needs of the Olympic Movement. Students at the university were afforded the opportunity of speaking directly to President Bach during an hour-long Q&A session.
“There will be many lasting legacies from Sochi 2014, including the RIOU, which is committed to producing graduates of the highest calibre to work in the world of sport,” said President Bach. “The Olympic Movement as a whole will benefit from the establishment of the university, as, of course, will Russian sport.”
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