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Meeting with Russian Olympic team

June 30, 2021, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin received members of the Russian Olympic team in the St George Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace.

The Kremlin brought together athletes and their coaches representing such sports as boxing, volleyball, judo, swimming, diving, synchronised swimming, modern pentathlon, artistic gymnastics, fencing, and rhythmic gymnastics.

The XXXII Summer Olympic Games will be held in the capital of Japan from July 23 to August 8.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,

I would like to welcome everyone and, first of all, I would like to congratulate you, all your teammates, on joining the Russian Olympic team and, of course, to wish you successful performance at the long-awaited XXXII Summer Olympic Games.

They were supposed to take place back in 2020, but, as you know, the coronavirus epidemic made dramatic changes in the life of the entire planet, including in the life of elite sports. And the fact that during such, frankly speaking, difficult conditions the main sports festival of the planet will still take place can be considered an important common victory of the world Olympic family.

I understand that it was difficult for you and your colleagues from all countries to maintain the rhythm of preparations for this major start, but you succeeded, and this is also a victory.

The Games in Japan will certainly be very special. We hope that the organisers will take all possible measures to protect the health of athletes and spectators. But I am sure that, despite the forced restrictions and other difficulties, each of you, all athletes are determined to achieve the best results, perform with dignity and please their fans.

We are definitely worried about you. And I would ask all members of the Russian delegation without any exception to strictly comply with the medical requirements of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, and I would ask the Government, the Federal Medical-Biological Agency and the Russian Olympic Committee to do everything to minimise the risks associated with the epidemic both at the final stage of the preparations of our athletes, and, of course, during the competition itself in Japan.

We will definitely pay special attention to diplomatic and legal support for Russian athletes and coaches during the upcoming Olympics. Unfortunately, the topic of politicising sports is still acute and has not been removed from the agenda.

The rights and interests of our athletes must be protected against any injustice, including the decisions, which some countries are trying to impose around the world, far beyond their national jurisdictions. I would like to ask our colleagues from the agencies concerned to pay special attention to this. Incidentally, this imposition of their laws beyond their borders has not only attracted our attention and caused dissatisfaction in our country but, I can assure you, also around the world and in the World Anti-Doping Agency as well.

We are confident that ultimately truth and goodwill are bound to prevail. The Olympic Movement has always been noted for openness, equality and justice. We must preserve these noble values for future generations of athletes, and Russia will do everything in its power towards this together with millions, yes, quite literally millions of like-minded people in other countries, who are aware of the real importance of sport for everyone and for humankind as a whole.

Sport continues developing. It has a positive unifying agenda. It has always been like this, and I hope that it will be like this in the future as well. You can see this from the programme of the upcoming Olympic Games. It includes new sports such as surfing, skateboarding, sport climbing and karate, and all of them have big audiences, both spectators and those who engage in these sports.

I would like to express my special gratitude to all those who are involved in, are working at and are supporting the Russian Olympians Foundation. Apart from systematic assistance to our athletes, the foundation is also supporting the development of new Olympic sports in the country and, as far as I know, we can report positive results in this sphere.

I would also like to mention the Foundation’s contribution to the preservation of our great sports traditions. I received an interesting book published by the Foundation, Anthology of the Russian Olympic Movement. I hope you will get it as well, or maybe you already have it. It literally presents a complete picture of the glory of our national sports, including names, faces, facts and events that took place over more than 100 years. Each of you is capable of applying your skills, strong will and sports enthusiasm, thereby adding your names and victories to this chronicle. I have no doubt that this will happen.

During the upcoming trials on the Olympic arenas, the entire country, Russia, will be with you in spirit and in the warmth of our hearts. We will cheer for you. We believe in you; you are always the best for us, and I wholeheartedly wish you great victories and an honourable and fair competition.

Good luck!

Of course, I would like to say in conclusion that I am delighted to have this opportunity to personally congratulate two of our athletes, two of your teammates, members of the Olympic team, who are celebrating their birthdays today. They are judoka Madina Taimazova and synchronised swimmer Maria Shurochkina. Girls, I wish you health, all the best, sports victories and happiness.

Thank you.

June 30, 2021, The Kremlin, Moscow