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Meeting with President of International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach

February 4, 2014, Sochi

Vladimir Putin and Thomas Bach discussed the preparation and holding of the Olympic Games in Sochi.

Earlier the Russian President and the President of the IOC took part in the presentation of International Olympic Committee members.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, allow me once again to extend you a sincere welcome. Actually, I am not sure whether I should welcome you, or you should welcome me: I think Sochi is going to be your home too now, at least for the duration of the Olympic Games.

I would like to thank you for everything that you have done over the past years. We have said a lot about how much the city has changed, how the environment has improved, and about the conditions that were created for engaging in sports for both high-class athletes and the public at large. In addition, I would very much like the Sochi Games to become yet another step in the development of the Olympic movement.

I would like to thank you and the entire International Olympic Committee for all the joint work and for your constant support. I assure you that we are doing everything to turn Sochi into a hospitable home for all participants and spectators. Our main goal is to turn the Olympic Games in Sochi into a festival for all sports fans around the world.

Thank you.

President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach (translated from Russian): Thank you, Mr President, for the warm welcome in your country. We have been received here with your traditional hospitality. In Russia we truly feel at home.

I was very happy to see how in the past 7 years Russia and Sochi have prepared venues for the best athletes of the world who will compete in the Winter Olympics. I have already had the opportunity to talk to many athletes and they are all excited about the sports facilities and the Olympic villages. They feel quite comfortable here.

We are very impressed by the development of the city and the entire region, which used to be, if I may say so, a provincial resort area, while now it is an international sport and cultural centre, a congress centre.

For seven years, we have been maintaining very productive contacts between experts of the Organising Committee and our Coordination Commission. This cooperation has proved to be very productive and positive.

First of all, Mr Putin, I would like to express my gratitude to you personally for your constant interest in the Olympic Games, and in sports in general. I know you give great attention to the development of a new Russia, where the focus will be on education, including professional, and inculcating the values and spirit of sports in children and young people. We look forward to having wonderful Olympic Games in a new Russia.

Vladimir Putin: Mr President, you have touched upon a very important subject. We spoke many times of the region’s development, of resolving all sorts of issues here. However, one of the most important tasks that we are working on here in Russia and you are working on as President of the International Olympic Committee is making a positive impact on young people by developing sports, taking young people and children off the streets, away from alcohol, drugs and tobacco.

Here the International Olympic Committee, along with some other international sports organisations, plays a truly outstanding role in resolving these tasks. I would like to assure you that we will do everything to support these efforts of the International Olympic Committee, you can always count on us.

Let me wish you success in this work. Meanwhile we will do our best to hold the Sochi Olympics at the highest possible level.

Thomas Bach: The preparatory work that we saw gives us every reason to say the Games will surely be held at the highest level. 

I am grateful to you for touching upon the topic of mass sports, since this will become the Olympics’ main legacy, so that children and young people can not only follow sports events on television, use certain sports related services or play, for instance, sports videogames, but also engage in sports. This is why I have no doubt that our good relations will continue after the Olympic Games as well, especially since Russia will be hosting other major sports events.

Vladimir Putin (in German): I express my sincere gratitude to you.

Thomas Bach: Thank you very much.

February 4, 2014, Sochi