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UNITED NATIONS, February 8 (Itar-Tass) - The RF Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York on Thursday evening hosted a reception marking "One Year before the Sochi Winter Olympic Games".
Diplomats of U.N. member states gathered for the ceremony, and a delegation of outstanding Russian athletes, including 1980 Olympic figure skating champions Natalia Linichuk and Gennady Karponosov and twice Olympic hockey champion Sergei Starikov (1984, 1988), joined them.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the meeting. He expressed confidence the Games would be held successfully. He congratulated people and the government of the Russian Federation on the approach of the great sport event that would bring hope for peace and prosperity to peoples and the spirit of honest competition to athletes. Ban Ki-moon, who formerly was South Korean foreign minister, recalled that the city of Pyeongchang, which is close to him, competed with Sochi at the final stage for the right to host the Games. Sochi was a little more insistent and deservedly won the privilege. Korea lost to Russia in the race, but fortunately, shortly after that won the right to host the 2018 Games, he noted.
Russian Permanent Representative to the U.N. Vitaly Churkin, in his turn, expressed confidence the XXII Winter Olympic Games would be an outstanding sport and cultural event. From the very beginning, the idea of the Organizing Committee was to hold really innovative games that would open a way to the future, but at the same time would be based on the great traditions of the Olympic movement, in which Russia has an important place, the diplomat said.
A video reflecting the main stages of the preparations for the 2014 Games, from the time of the wining the bid by the city at the International Olympic Committee session in Guatemala in 2007, was shown during the reception in the Russian representative office. The main Olympic facilities were presented to the participants. They were also told about thousands of volunteers who prepare to receive guests in the southern Russian city.