Rio de Janeiro, Aug 2 (IANS) The 129th session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially got underway with an inspiring ceremony at the Cidade Das Artes here.
In his opening speech on Monday night, IOC President Thomas Bach paid tribute to the extraordinary work and efforts deployed by the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee and the city authorities to build a fantastic stage for the athletes of the world, reports Xinhua.
“Only if we remember what everyone had to overcome, we will be able to truly appreciate the unparalleled efforts of our Brazilian friends. It puts their efforts into perspective and highlights their tremendous achievements. At a time when the country is divided politically, economically and socially, the transformation of Rio de Janeiro is truly historic,” Bach said.
“Rio de Janeiro would not be where it is today without the Olympic Games as a catalyst. History will talk about a Rio de Janeiro before the Olympic Games and a much better Rio de Janeiro after the Olympic Games,” he added.
Touching upon the recent events that have shaken the world of sport but also looking at opportunities laying ahead, the IOC President called for faith and unity.
“We are at an important juncture when we can shape our future. As our founder Pierre de Coubertin explained, Olympism is a pilgrimage to the past and an act of faith in the future. Now is the time for faith in the future. A new world of opportunities is opening up for us. Let us be united in this faith and shape the future together,” Bach concluded.