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MOSCOW, January 31, /ITAR-TASS/. President of the International Olympic Committee has said in an interview with Itar-Tass that he is looking forward to the start of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games in Sochi with big expectations.
“I’m looking at the Olympic Games with the eyes of an athlete,” Bach said, adding that if one looks at the Games in Sochi from this position and assesses the quality of what has been done there, “then we’re going to have magnificent Olympic Game for the athletes.”
He praised the quality of the Olympic villages built in Sochi, saying: “The athletes are going to be very, very happy and this is what the Olympic Games are about.”
When Itar-Tass asked him about his assessment of the transformations that had occurred in Sochi in the past several years, Bach described them as amazing. The area, the choice of which for an Olympic venue caused a lot of skepticism in 2007, is now gone, he said.
“Our Russian friends and partners decided then that, well, after the dissolution of the USSR we need a new sports center, and here it is,” he said. “After only seven years they have managed to build a new winter sports center for Russia and for the whole region.”
Bach pointed out the extremely high standards of the project and he congratulated the Russian side over the fact.
The correspondent asked him about his decision to live together with the athletes on an Olympic village during the Games, adding that this was the first time throughout the entire history of the Olympic movement that an OIC President would do this.
“Once you are an Olympic athlete you’re always an athlete,” Bach said, a former fencer who represented West Germany and who competed in the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Montreal where he won a gold medal in the team foil event.
“The village is an area where the Olympic spirit really lives and now it’s a great privilege for me as an athlete to come back to the village, to spend some day and some nights there, to meet with the athletes, and then maybe to think back a little bit to my good old times,” he said.