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IOC President Thomas Bach led members of the IOC Executive Board and IOC Athletes’ Commission on a tour of the Sochi 2014 Coastal Olympic Village today, which included the inauguration of the Olympic Truce Wall and stops at the athlete residences, Recreation Centre and Fitness Centre.
Two thousand athletes and officials will make the Coastal Olympic Village their home during the Games, which run from 7 to 23 February.
“The athletes enjoy excellent conditions here in Sochi. In addition to state-of-the-art venues, they can literally get out of bed and walk to their competition sites in 10 minutes”, President Bach told the IOC delegation, which included IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge, Vice-Presidents Nawal El Moutawakel, Craig Reedie and John Coates and Athletes’ Commission Chair Claudia Bokel.
President Bach moved into his room in the Coastal Olympic Village on Saturday. He said he hopes to stay overnight there at least a couple of times during the Games in order to speak with the athletes to get a better understanding of their Olympic experiences in Sochi.
After stopping to chat with athletes and Sochi 2014 staff, the delegation sat down to lunch with the Olympians in the Athlete Dining Hall, which has received a lot of praise from the athletes so far.
“You can find something for every taste here. I’m really impressed,” Canadian women’s ice hockey player Charline Labonté said of the variety of food in the Hall. “We came here in September (for test events) and barely anything was built. They did a great job getting everything done in time. It’s beautiful. The volunteers are absolutely amazing. And that’s all you really want as an athlete when you are in competition away from home – to be comfortable.”
The delegation earlier assembled for the inauguration of the Olympic Truce Wall, which has been a fixture in the Olympic Villages since Sydney 2000.
“The Olympic Village shows us all – if only for a few brief weeks – that another world is possible”, President Bach said at the ceremony. “A world where we can compete, but still respect each other, where we can be sporting rivals but still be friends. That is the spirit that underlies the Olympic Truce. This sacred truce is based on the ekecheiria, the tradition that ensured a halt to hostilities during the ancient Olympic Games. At that time, the Truce applied only to three kingdoms in Greece. Today, the Olympic Truce has a global appeal.”
Athletes and officials in the Village are invited to show their support for the Truce by signing the wall. Also attending the ceremony were Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, Russian Olympic Committee President and IOC member Alexander Zhukov, and Sochi 2014 President and CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko.
As part of the commemoration of the Olympic Truce, it is traditional for the host country to present a resolution to the UN calling for a truce during the Olympic Games. Last November, all 193 UN member states joined together in adopting the Olympic Truce resolution, which urged combatants around the world to cease hostilities before, during and after the Olympic Winter Games.
The Olympic Village on the Black Sea coast is one of three Athlete Villages at the Sochi Games, and features 47 buildings on 72 hectares of land. It is within walking distance of all coastal cluster venues, including those for ice hockey, curling, figure skating, speed skating and short track. Residents at the Olympic Village also have access to a multi-religious centre, library, bank, recreation centre, cafes and shops.
In addition to the Coastal Olympic Village, there are two other athletes compounds situated in the Mountain Cluster. The Mountain Village is the largest and will accommodate up to 3,000 people, while the Endurance Village will welcome over 1,000 people.
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