Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 11:08
Welcome to Athens
Mr. Minister of Sport of Greece
Dear Niels, Lello and friends of the Executive
Der fellow IOC Members
Dear Presidents, Dear Secretaries General,
Dear Presidents of European Sports Federations,
Dear honored guests,
At the beginning of a meeting, we always say what a pleasure it is to see everyone. I can say for certain today that when I say this, it is different.
We have come to understand that being together is something we should not take for granted. It is something we must work for.
I believe you all know Greece to be a country, a society of friendship and hospitality. Let me tell you just how special it is this time, to have the pleasure of seeing so many of you here in Athens.
The conditions of the pandemic mean there has been much extra work involved in organizing our General Assembly. But on behalf of my team at the Hellenic Olympic Committee, on behalf of the hotel and all the people working here, please let me say that it has all been worth it. Welcome!
During the past 15 months, we have been reminded of what is important. Health. Family. The chance to help others, to improve their lives.
I believe that we all want to prioritize these things, with a big sporting dimension, especially in the months and years ahead. I am sure that we will speak of plans for this. But for now, we must also do everything we can to reach the end of the pandemic as safely and quickly as possible.
When we are surrounded by so many good friends, it is normal to want to shake their hands, or hug them.
This is a sign of the great bond that exists between us. For now though, for these things, I must add my voice to those asking you to be patient a little bit more.
The more we are careful here and now, the better our immediate future will be. Thank you to all the NOCs of Europe who have been able to join us in person for their confidence in our efforts to keep you all safe. And thank you for contributing to this shared responsibility. To those who have not been able to join us in person, please know that we miss you and look forward to seeing you in person soon.
The pandemic has also reminded us that while we have independence as individuals, we are so much stronger for so many things when we join our efforts.
This year, we celebrate 200 years of Greek independence, but also 40 years of membership in the European Union and 50 years of the EOC.
We are proud to be part of this diverse group we call Europe. Because we know we are stronger together.
Please let me thank my EOC colleagues and our Rome Office for their partnership in making this Asembly happen. And please accept my best wishes for a very productive time.
Thank you very much.