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Speech at the 119th International Olympic Committee session

July 4, 2007


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PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: Mr. President, Members of the international Olympic Committee, ladies and gentlemen.

It is a great honor for me to address you today and to present the bid of Sochi to host the Olympic Winter Games in 2014.

The bid has enthusiastic support of the whole of Russia.

We pledge to make the stay of Olympians and Paralimpians, spectators, journalists, guests in Sochi a safe, enjoyable and memorable experience.

Sochi is a unique place. On the seashore you can enjoy a fine spring day. But up in the mountains its winter.

I went skiing there six or seven weeks ago, and I know real snows guaranteed.

The ancient Greeks lived around Sochi. I also saw the rock near Sochi to which as legend has it Prometheus was chained. It was Prometheus who gave people fire, fire which ultimately is the Olympic flame.

We guarantee that the Olympic cluster in Sochi will be completed on time. We are allocating a round sum of 12 billion dollars for this.

The cluster is going to become a regional, national and international sports venue. Special emphasis is placed on environment, security, infrastructure, up-to-date means of mass communication.

70 percent of participants will be housed within a five-minute walking distance of the competition venues. Five-minute walking distance. Not bad.

Ladies and gentlemen!

The city of Sochi has exclusive offers: We are working on a list of special privileges for participants and guests of the Games.

For example we plan to lift all restrictions on the minimum stay for delegations. This will be backed up by a special law.

(I have already signed a Decree to this effect).

And one more special privilege:

No traffic jams! I promise!

You may know that we in Russia turn a sports competition into a really spectacular event. And we are good at it. In the past 25 years we have had more than a hundred major competitions.

The recent World Ice Hockey Championship in Moscow was a big success.

Russia is ready to host Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2014. The Olympic family is going to feel at home in Sochi.

Mr. President, members of the International Olympic Committee, ladies and gentlemen!

Millions of citizens of Russia are united by the Olympic dream. Winter sports are very popular in Russia. Our athletes have scored many victories and have made major contributions to the Olympic Movement.

But we have not yet had the honor to celebrate the Winter Olympics.

Our national pledge to you is: the choice of Sochi is the best choice.

But whatever decision you make Sochis Olympic bid has already brought its benefits.

The Olympic cluster in Sochi will be the first world class mountain sports centre in the new Russia. Let me point out that after the break-up of the Soviet Union Russia has lost all sports venues in the mountains. Would you believe it?

Even today our national teams have no mountain venues in Russia for training.

The state-of-the-art Sochi sports center is our present to all athletes Olympians and would-be Olympians, to citizens of Russia and guests from abroad.

Sochi is going to become a new world class resort for the new Russia. And the whole world!

And we shall be happy to see you in Russia and in Sochi as our guests. Thank you.

(In French) The Olympic dream of millions of Russians awaits your decision with high hopes.

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