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PyeongChang 2018 will build bridges, not walls, says IOC President

02 Nov 2017

PyeongChang 2018 will build bridges, not walls, says IOC President

Prague, Czech Republic, November 2, 2017: IOC President Thomas Bach gave a detailed report on the state of the Olympic movement to delegates at the 22nd ANOC General Assembly at the Prague Hilton Hotel on Thursday.

President Bach said that, despite the challenges facing the modern Olympic movement, the sports leaders assembled should be confident and optimistic about the future due to the firm foundations of the IOC and the common goal of the various stakeholders.

His address included a variety of subjects, including the protection of clean athletes and the continued fight against doping in sport; the importance of good governance; the responsibility of the Olympic movement to embrace refugee athletes around the world; gender equality through all levels of sport and sports administration, and the new sports coming into Tokyo 2020 to give the Olympic Games a “more youthful, more female and more urban” look.

But, perhaps, his most relevant point concerned the upcoming host of the next Winter Olympics, in PyeongChang, Korea, in February 2018.

President Bach said he was confident the Koreans were preparing the best environment possible for the best winter sports athletes from around the world, but he acknowledged that the political tensions on the Korean peninsula could not be ignored.

Sport in general, and the Olympics in particular, was in a unique position to bring people and nations together, he said, and the consistent IOC message was for the Winter Olympics to remain beyond the politicisation of sport and political tactics.

“The Olympic Games have to be a stage for dialogue and to build bridges, not walls,” said President Bach. “This is what we are fighting for.”

The IOC President urged the NOCs and International Federations to convey this message to the athletes taking part at PyeongChang 2018, insisting the security and safety of the athletes was a top priority for all concerned.

The United Nations will also adopt and promote this theme at a meeting this month, said President Bach.

The Winter Olympics Flame was lit in ancient Olympia, Greece, on October 24 and is now in Korea on a 2,018km relay involving 7,500 torchbearers.

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