New York

5 June 2013

Secretary-General's remarks at opening of Olympic Display [as prepared for delivery]

Last year I had the immense honour of carrying the Olympic torch.

I also helped to carry the Olympic flag into the stadium at the opening ceremony of the London Games.

It was an experience I will never forget.

Of the eight outstanding personalities who shared that honour with me, no less than four were acknowledged for their United Nations connections.

The great Mohammed Ali, a former messenger of peace, and musician Daniel Barenboim, who serves in that role now.

Haile Gebreselassie, a Goodwill Ambassador for UNDP in Ethiopia, and Marina Silva, the former environment minister of Brazil who is a UNEP Champion of the Earth.

That the organizers chose to honour the United Nations so visibly spoke volumes to me about the close links between the Olympic Movement and the United Nations.

All around the world, people were watching.

They were united – ready to support their own countrymen and women – but equally ready to be thrilled and inspired by the achievements of others.

This is the beauty of the Olympics.  It is the power of sport. 

It is why the United Nations engages so closely with the Olympic Movement and other sports organizations and personalities.

The Olympic torch I carried is proudly on display here at United Nations Headquarters.

It is a symbol of the bond between the UN and IOC families.

I thank the Olympic Movement for working so closely with us and for promoting the values we have in common.

Soon this display will expand into an exhibition on Sport for Development and Peace.

We want to showcase the power of sport for helping to create the world we want – a peaceful, sustainable world of equality and opportunity. 

A world where every girl and boy, every woman and man can be a winner.