Thomas Bach defends ‘politically neutral’ Winter Olympics

Beijing, Feb 3 (EFE).- The International Olympic Committee can only fulfill its mission by ensuring the participation of all athletes in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics if they overcome their political differences for the “politically neutral” games, IOC President Thomas Bach said on Thursday, a day before the event is set to be officially inaugurated.

The German lawyer-turned sports administrator – who insisted that the event should not become a “tool to achieve political goals” – was delivering the opening speech of the 139th session of the IOC, in the host city of Beijing, in the backdrop of the United States announcing a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics over the human rights situation in China.

“Today we can be happy and proud that apparently this message got through. All the athletes, who have been overcoming great uncertainties in this respect for so long, canmake their dream come true and compete at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022,” Bach said.

The leader, who referred to the United Nations’ Olympic Truce Resolution – consensually adopted by all 193 members – stressed that “sport alones cannot create peace,” because words and olympic symbols are also important to “show us how the world can look like, if we all respect the same rules and each other.”

“The Olympic Games are this symbol of peace and unity, showing us the way to a better and more peaceful future,” Bach said.

The IOC chief called on “all political leaders around the world to observe their commitment to the Olympic Truce,” so that “these Olympic Winter Games can become this precious symbol.”

Bach highlighted that the Olympics, starting Friday, are set to be historical as Beijing would officially become the first city in history to host both summer and winter editions of Olympic Games. EFE


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