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Date
04 Aug 2008
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IOC News

Rogge: “Landmark event for the Olympic Movement”


The 120th IOC Session kicked off tonight with a ceremony in the Opera Hall of the National Centre for Performing Arts in Beijing.  Speaking in the beautiful and modern facility in the heart of Beijing, IOC President Jacques Rogge welcomed China’s President Hu Jintao, 115 IOC members and all other members of the Olympic Family.  Four days ahead of the beginning of the 2008 Summer Games, President Rogge spoke of the power of the Olympic ideal, on Beijing and beyond.
 
Sichuan tragedy
President Rogge extended his sympathies to the Chinese people over the Sichuan earthquake that devastated the region in May and expressed his admiration for the “courage and determination of the Chinese people.” He added that his hope was for a Beijing Games that “will help the healing process in China and deepen the world’s knowledge of this remarkable country.”
 
A historic games
Calling them a “landmark event for the Olympic Movement,” President Rogge spoke of the Beijing Games as “historic” for many reasons: “The mere fact that the Olympic Games are coming to China — home to nearly 20 percent of the world’s population — is significant.”  He went further to describe the improvements, investments and changes in Beijing that will “improve the quality of life and contribute to China’s economic development over the long term.”
 
Olympic values
President Rogge also spoke on the Olympic Movement and the “new challenges in today’s world,” encouraging creative ways to reach out to youth, such as through the Youth Olympic Games and the Olympic Value Education Programme.  He added, “We should also enhance our efforts to promote Olympic values worldwide…The Olympic Rings are a powerful symbol, recognized worldwide, because they represent a set of universal values.  It is our job to keep those values alive and thriving in a changing world.”
 
Bring on Beijing
In closing, President Rogge expressed his excitement for the start of the Beijing Games, saying “I am also confident that we are about to experience a magnificent Olympic Games. When the Games start this weekend, we can join the rest of the world in watching the world’s best athletes as they compete in a forum that celebrates fair play, Olympic values and friendship.”


 OPENING CEREMONY OF THE IOC SESSION, Beijing 4 August 2008 -Speech of IOC President, Jacques Rogge
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