International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has insisted Sochi 2014 is for athletic achievements and that “terrorism must never triumph” in his New Year’s message following two deadly bomb blasts in the Russian city of Volgograd this week.
The German, who succeeded Jacques Rogge to become the ninth IOC chief last September, condemned the terrorist attacks which left more than 30 people dead as Russia gears up to host the Olympics in less than six weeks.
Despite the deadly bombings, Bach claimed in his message that he trusts that the Russian authorities will “deliver a safe and secure Olympic Winter Games for all athletes and all participants”, but stressed that “we must ensure that nothing interferes with them (the athletes) realising their full potential on the world’s biggest sporting stage”.
Meanwhile, Bach claimed 2014 is shaping up to be a significant year for the Olympic Movement, with not only Sochi 2014 in February but also the Nanjing Summer Youth Olympic Games in August.
However, Bach admitted that more changes are necessary over the next few years.
“Since September I have initiated a dialogue on major themes outlined in my electoral platform with the five other Presidential candidates, IOC members and the broader Olympic family,” he said.
“This dialogue has already generated a number of important ideas that will form the basis of the Olympic Agenda 2020, a road map for the Olympic Movement under the leadership of the IOC that we aim to have finalized by the end of 2014.
“Our discussions have centered on three major themes: sustainability, credibility, and youth, thereby addressing the main topics of preserving the uniqueness of the Olympic Games; focusing on the athletes as the heart of the Olympic Movement; fostering Olympism year-round; defining the role of the IOC; and improving the structure and organization of the IOC.”
Bach said the next step is a brainstorming session for the IOC Executive Board ahead of Sochi 2014 and he expects the process to culminate in Monaco December 6-7 when the Olympic Agenda 2020 will be presented for final approval to an IOC Extraordinary Session.
Meanwhile, he thanked Rogge for his legacy, which has left a solid foundation on which to build the Olympic Movement, and said it was “a great honour to have been granted the responsibility of leading the IOC on September 10”.