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IOC President: Sochi Olympics should not be platform for politics or division

January 01, 2014, 20:11 UTC+3 BERLIN
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BERLIN, January 01, 18:38 /ITAR-TASS/. International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has called for staying away from politics during the Olympic Winter Games in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi in February 2014.

“The Sochi Olympic Games should be a demonstration of unity in diversity and of remarkable athletic achievements - not a platform for politics or division,” Bach said in a statement on Wednesday, January 1.

He strongly condemned the “cowardly terrorist attacks”, which were carried out in late December in the southern Russian city of Volgograd and claimed dozens of innocent lives. “Terrorism must never triumph. We trust that the Russian authorities will deliver safe and secure Olympic Winter Games for all athletes and all participants,” he said.

Bach noted that in Sochi the athletes will once again discover the magic of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Villages. “They will experience first-hand the ability of the Olympic Games to build bridges and break down walls. In turn, the athletes will share this magic with the rest of the world by bringing the Olympic values to life both on and off the field of play. This will be their time to shine,” he said and stressed that “nothing interferes with them realising their full potential on the world’s biggest sporting stage.”

He announced that the IOC had have increased the number of pre-competition tests for Sochi 2014 by 57 per cent compared to Vancouver 2010 in order to enhance our fight on behalf of clean athletes.

The IOC Executive Board has also created a fund of 10 million U.S. dollars to be used, in particular, for better scientific research in the field of anti-doping, and another fund of 10 million U.S. dollars to better protect clean athletes from any kind of manipulation and related corruption, Bach said.

He believes that more changes in the Olympic Movement over the next few years are necessary and will need to be discussed by everyone concerned. “Since September I have initiated a dialogue on major themes outlined in my electoral platform with the five other presidential candidates, IOC members and the broader Olympic family. This dialogue has already generated a number of important ideas that will form the basis of the Olympic Agenda 2020, a road map for the Olympic Movement under the leadership of the IOC that we aim to have finalised by the end of 2014,” the IOC President said.

The discussions have centred on three major themes: sustainability, credibility, and youth, thereby addressing the main topics of preserving the uniqueness of the Olympic Games; focusing on the athletes as the heart of the Olympic Movement; fostering Olympism year-round; defining the role of the IOC; and improving the structure and organisation of the IOC.

The next step will be for all IOC members to debate the ideas emerging from a four-day brainstorming meeting of the IOC Executive Board. This debate will take place at the IOC Session ahead of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. The process is expected to culminate in Monaco on December 6-7, 2014 when the Olympic Agenda 2020 will be presented for final approval to an IOC Extraordinary Session, Bach said.

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