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3:20 AM 24th July 2021
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IOC President - Tokyo 2020 Is A Moment Of Hope

International Olympic Committee  President Thomas Bach
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games welcomed the world to Tokyo 2020.

In his speech he said that the opening ceremony was a moment of hope.

Recognising the challenges of the pandemic President Bach said: "Yes, it is very different from what all of us had imagined. But let us cherish this moment. Finally we are all here together: the athletes from 205 National Olympic Committees and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team, living under one roof together in the Olympic Village."

He spoke about the unifying power of sport and that the message should be one of solidarity,peace and the message of resilience. "This gives all of us hope for our further journey together."

On behalf of the IOC he thanked all the many unsung heroes, the doctors, nurses and all the Japanese people who contribute to contain the pandemic.

"A special thanks goes to the thousands of volunteers, who despite all the challenges they had to face, welcomed us wholeheartedly. You are the best ambassadors for Japan. A big thank you to all volunteers!"

He said: "You had to face great challenges on your Olympic journey. Like all of us, you were living with great uncertainty through the pandemic. You did not know when you could train again. You did not know whether you could see your coach tomorrow. You did not know if your teammates would be with you for the next competition. You did not even know if this competition would take place at all.

"You struggled, you persevered, you never gave up, and today you are making your Olympic dream come true.

"You are true Olympic athletes.

"You inspired us, the IOC and the entire Olympic community. You inspired us to fight like you, and for you, to make this moment possible."

Speaking directly to the athletes he said: "This Olympic community is with you tonight and during the entire Olympic Games. Billions of people from around the globe will be glued to their screens, sending you their enthusiasm, their energy and cheering you on.

Our Olympic community learned that we can address the many big challenges of our times only if we stand together.

The lesson we learned is: We need more solidarity. More solidarity among societies and more solidarity within societies.

Solidarity means much more than just respect or non-discrimination.

Solidarity means helping. Sharing. Caring.

This is what we are doing in our Olympic community. We are standing in solidarity to make the Olympic Games happen and to enable all of you, the athletes from all National Olympic Committees, whether big or small, whether rich or poor, and from all Olympic sports, to take part in the Olympic Games.

This solidarity fuels our mission to make the world a better place through sport. Only because of this solidarity we can be here together tonight.

Solidarity also reflects our 3,000-year old commitment to peace.

Without solidarity, there is no peace.

In this Olympic spirit of solidarity and peace, we welcome the IOC Refugee Olympic Team."