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21 Mar 2015
IOC News

President Bach welcomes US Secretary of State Kerry to The Olympic Museum

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach today met US Secretary of State John Kerry at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, where the pair discussed the role of sport in society.

The Secretary of State stressed the important role that Olympic sports play in understanding and reconciliation by keeping doors open regardless of political differences.

President Bach explained that sport is always about building bridges, never about erecting walls. In order to accomplish this, he added, the IOC must be politically neutral without being apolitical. Mr Kerry, agreeing with this, congratulated the IOC President on the approval of Olympic Agenda 2020, the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement. Mr Kerry said the reforms should become the benchmark for others, and that with Olympic Agenda 2020 the IOC is leading the way into the future of sport.

©IOC/Christophe Moratal

In this context, the pair discussed in more detail the sustainability of the Olympic Games and stressed the importance of sport in education.

After the meeting, the Secretary of State signed the Golden Book of Honour of the IOC, writing: “The Olympic Movement is so powerful and from my earliest days I have followed each Olympic year with passion. This Movement transcends all politics and truly creates a sense of global possibility. Thank you for helping to break down barriers.”

President Bach then gave Mr Kerry a tour of The Olympic Museum, where the Secretary of State’s love and knowledge of sport was clearly evident. He was particularly interested in the displays on Olympic ceremonies and the Olympic Village, where athletes live together in harmony under one roof during the period of the Games.

©IOC/Christophe Moratal

A passionate cyclist, Mr Kerry enjoyed looking at the many different models of bicycles on display. He added that practicing sport helps him fulfil his many duties.

The Secretary of State was in Lausanne for negotiations with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tehran's nuclear programme. Talks are expected to resume next week in Lausanne.

Speaking later at a press conference at the Olympic Museum, John Kerry thanked the IOC and President Bach: "I want to first of all just thank Thomas Bach, the president of the IOC and himself an Olympic fencing champion from Montreal for the very special tour that I was able to have here of the Olympic Museum, which obviously means a lot to those of us from Boston because we’ve had a long history of Massachusetts athletes being involved in the Olympics and great memories, of course, of Lake Placid in 1980 and other times. So it’s very special for me to have a chance to sort of review the history of my television watching and my passion for the Olympics. And we appreciate their hospitality, of course, for hosting all of you and making this the headquarters – the international headquarters for the press during the course of these negotiations."

©IOC/Christophe Moratal

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