New York

7 February 2013

Remarks by the Secretary-General at a ceremony marking the one-year countdown to the Sochi Winter Olympic Games (as prepared for delivery)


Today we begin the one-year countdown to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

The Sochi Olympics and Paralympics will be the first Winter Games hosted in the Russian Federation.  

I congratulate your country on being awarded the Games.

The bid and the final selection processes for the 2014 Games were quite interesting for me.  

Both Sochi and PyeongChang were candidate cities.  Both made it to the final vote.  

And, in the end, both emerged as winning host cities – Sochi in 2014 and PyeongChang in 2018.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

For decades, the Olympic hosts and the United Nations have been working actively together.  

We have joined forces around the world to promote the ancient ideals of the Olympic Truce and support development, participation and education through sport.

I trust that Russia, as the future steward of the Olympic Truce, will use the spirit of the Olympic Movement to build peaceful, inclusive communities – and promote responsible environmental stewardship.  

I welcome Russia’s Bilateral Statement on the Olympic Truce together with the United Kingdom, as well as the Joint Communiqué agreed by the UK, Russia, Brazil and South Korea to promote the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

I attach great importance to these partnerships to build global Olympic legacies and I encourage Russia and other future Olympic and Paralympic hosts to work together with both the International Olympic Committee and the United Nations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Games are an excellent opportunity to realize the principle: “Think globally and act locally”.

Sochi is no exception and I am aware of several youth education projects since the 1,000-day countdown.

I encourage you to further foster the potential of youth leadership, mobilize sport for social change, and inspire youth around the world.

I am also grateful for the Paralympic Awareness Programme and efforts to create a barrier-free environment for persons living with disabilities across Russia. 
I am sure that Sochi will be a hospitable host for the Olympic spirit – in cold weather but with warm hearts.

Thank you very much.