IOC PRESIDENT MEETS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Washington DC, 27 November 2001 - The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Dr Jacques Rogge, today met the President of the United States of America, Mr George W. Bush. The meeting took place in the Oval Office of the White House.
The preparations for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City were discussed. President Bush echoed the earlier commitment of the American administration to fully support the Olympic Games and to provide all necessary security measures. President Rogge thanked President Bush for his support and reiterated the important role the Olympic Games had to play in today’s world.
Amongst other subjects discussed during the meeting were the preparations for the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004 and in Beijing in 2008.
Prior to the meeting with President Bush, the IOC President gave a speech at the National Press Club, the content of which follows. A recording of the speech and the Q session can be accessed by logging on to: http://www.npr.org/programs/npc/011127.jrogge.html
The IOC President will meet congressional leaders tomorrow, 28 November 2001.
Check Against Delivery
The Important Role of Sport in Today's World
Dr. Jacques Rogge
President, International Olympic Committee
National Press Club
27 November 2001
Thank you for that gracious introduction. I would also like to thank the National Press Club for providing me with such a distinguished forum so I can discuss one of my favorite subjects: sport - the important role it plays in today's world and what we must do to sustain it.
Senator, Mayors, Olympic officials and athletes, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. It is great to be in Washington, DC, the capital of the United States, which has hosted so many Olympic Games and produced so many great Olympians, such as the ones we have with us today. They are the reasons the United States will always hold a special place in Olympic history.
[ SLC 2002 ]
February will add yet another chapter to the U.S.'s storied Olympic past. The 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City will open ten Fridays from now, bringing the world's elite winter sports athletes together for a celebration of humanity and athletic performance.
The IOC is fully confident Salt Lake City will provide successful Olympic Winter Games. Seven years of hard work have gone into developing the organization. Mitt Romney and the Salt Lake organizers, building on the more than $600 million provided by the IOC, have done a superb job to ensure the athletes will be well served and provided with the optimum chances to perform at their best. The venues are fantastic, and it has even started to snow.
We are also confident the Winter Games will be secure. The security and safety of the athletes and other participants is always the IOC's Number One priority. Involving the leadership of the U.S. Secret Service and the participation of other relevant agencies, including the U.S. military, security planning for the Winter Games has been underway for several years. This is why we were not surprised to find, after a post-September 11 review, that sufficient security strategies and planning were already in place. However, the tragedies of that day have made us adjust to the new realities the world now faces.
We have added more resources and personnel in certain areas to tighten what was already a very secure perimeter.
We remain confident because the u.s. Government has recently reconfirmed its commitment to provide for the security of the Games and has allocated $40 million over the $200 million it had already promised. This is in addition to the $35 million granted by the State of Utah and the $35 million included in the organizing budget. This total amount is providing for the personnel and equipment needed to provide the highest level of security possible.
These extra efforts are important because the Olympic Winter Games must go on. There was never a doubt about that. These Games should be an answer to violence, not a victim of it.
On all my travels, across this country and throughout the world, everyone has been telling me the Games are needed now more than ever. The elected representatives of the athletes, the National Olympic Committees, the International Sports Federations, the members of the IOC, our sponsors, and many others have all repeated the same message: the world needs these Games. This is because the Games are more than sport; they are a celebration of humanity.
The Olympic Games provide the elite athletes of the world a stage on which to demonstrate fair play, respect for others, the balance between a strong body and mind, and, of course, the joy of taking part in a pursuit of excellence. They demonstrate a community of men and women we want the world to be and give us hope that we can