“In sport, our voice is the voice of the International Olympic Committee,” says Antonio Guterres.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach was host for the "President's Dinner" in PyeongChang on Thursday. It came just ahead of the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. The dinner brought together people from all walks of society, from the worlds of politics and business, from arts and society as well as many Olympic athletes, past and present. More than a dozen Heads of State and Government were also present.
Speaking at the dinner, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, told the audience, "If there is a true symbol of peace in the world, that is the Olympic spirit. The Olympic Games have a universal impact; the Olympic spirit has a universal character and their appeal has a relevance all over the world. These are Olympic Games that unite our world," he said.
Earlier, President Bach told the audience that the stage was set for "the best Winter Olympic athletes and great Olympic Winter Games".
Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon said, "These Games will send a message of harmony and peace. The cycle of Olympic Games in Asia will open more doors for peace and prosperity in the world."
In closing his speech, Secretary General Guterres said, "Let me thank the Olympic Committee for the extraordinary cooperation we have, in the protection of refugees, in the empowerment of women, in the fight against drugs, in supporting people with a disability and in promoting life in a healthy way. The UN does not need any other voice to express its position in sport. Our voice is the voice of the International Olympic Committee."
The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 will see a record 92 National Olympic Committees taking part in 16 days of competition, with six National Olympic Committees competing at the Winter Games for the first time.