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IOC President says Olympic Games should not be used as a political stage

January 31, 2014, 23:47 updated at: February 01, 2014, 3:47 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, January 31, /ITAR-TASS/. Olympic Games should not be used as a political stage because their main function is to build bridges among people, believes Thomas Bach, the President of the International Olympic Committee.

“If sport is taking sides in the world of politics then it is lost, but neither can sport be apolitical because we must realize the political implications of the decisions we take,” he said in an interview with Itar-Tass.

“We know that when the honor of organizing the Olympic Games is given to a city and a country, then the world attention is focusing on that very city and country,” Bach said.

“On the other hand, we have to be sure that the Olympic Games are not used as a political stage. The Olympic Games are about a competition among athletes, about setting an example of peaceful competitions - they are a stage for uniting people, not for dividing them.

“The Olympic Games are never about erecting walls,” Bach said. “This is why political neutrality of the Olympic Games should be respected by everybody so that the Olympic spirit can really unfold, that we can send the message of peaceful society to the host country and to the whole world.”

He also spoke about the ways that the spirit of Olympism manifests itself on an Olympic village.

“Even as a competitor you can understand and respect each other,” Thomas Bach said. “The athletes live /on the Olympic village/ together under one roof regardless of their political convictions or sexual orientations or race or nation. They come together and they show what they want to show.”

“They show that people can live together and compete peacefully and that they can respect each other regardless of whether they are winners or just participants,” he said.

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