Alexander Zhukov: “Sport is aimed at contributing to a peaceful, creative processes”

Alexander Zhukov, President of the Russian Olympic Committee, made a speech at the annual Peace and Sport International Forum, held in Monaco under the patronage of Prince Albert II. Joël Bouzou, Olympic medalist and Modern Pentathlon World Champion, is the Founder of Peace and Sport. The ROC Information Service presxents the full text of Alexander Zhukov’s statement.

“Your Serene Highness, Prince Albert II, Mr. Joël Bouzou, President of Peace and Sport, distinguished guests and colleagues, ladies and gentlemen!

I am honored to represent the Russian Olympic Committee and the entire country in the Year of Russia in Monaco and to speak to you on behalf of the  President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin today, at a time when the unifying power of sport is more important than ever.

Peacemaking is the historic mission of sport and one of its fundamental values. Olympic Games have stopped the wars, sports competitions have brought together nations and peoples. Sports peace diplomacy has always been an effective way to solve the most difficult conflicts.

We must prevent sport from turning into an instrument for political speculation and financial manipulation. The position of Russia and the Russian Olympic Committee on this is clear. Sport should be out of political or other external influences which lead to disunity, conflict of ambitions and misunderstanding.

On the initiative of a group of countries, including Russia resolution entitled “Sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace” was adopted at the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly, was adopted without a vote. It was the first time when support of independence and autonomy of sport was documented, as well as the International Olympic Committee mission as the leader of the Olympic Movement.

In this context one can recall the UN Millennium Declaration, which calls for the Olympic Truce to be respected by Member States, individually and collectively, and support the IOC in its efforts to promote peace and human understanding through sport and the Olympic ideals.

In October this year the inaugural World Olympians Forum was held in Moscow with the direct participation of World Olympians Association (WOA) Patron HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and WOA President Joël Bouzou.

One of the key highlights of the WOF was the Signing of the Declaration of Support for the Olympic Charter. In particular the Declaration pledges to oppose any political or governmental interference in the autonomy of sports organisations which might prevent an athlete from exercising their right to compete in the Olympic Games or other major sporting events which also embody the Olympic Spirit.

The independence of sport is one of the key items of the International Olympic Committee’s Agenda 2020. Russia shares and fully supports this principle.

In our view, is extremely important for the whole international sports community to have  a unified position at a time when the world is facing the most serious challenges, aggressors’ attempts to split nations up and to sow death and destruction.

Recent terrorist attacks, which caused deaths of citizens of Russia, France, Turkey, Mali and many others, are a challenge to all humanity. Only united we can face this global threat.

In recent days sport has repeatedly demonstrated the examples of solidarity and courage.

When the 80,000 English fans sing the Marseillaise at Wembley Stadium after the tragedy in Paris.

When people in different countries bring flowers to the embassies of Russia and France and light candles in memory of the victims of the terrorist attacks at.

When the International Olympic Committee created a Fund available for the NOCs of countries which faced a large influx of refugees, initiate programs to help people who lost everything against their will integrate into the European Community.

I fully support the words of IOC President Thomas Bach about sport uniting people and building bridges. It is an important tool for the consolidation of peace and prevention of conflicts. It can contribute to social integration, confidence building and the development of a culture of peace between the conflicting parties. An example is the IOC campaign aimed at providing humanitarian assistance to millions of refugees from countries where recent tragic events unfold.

Sport can help. Sport is designed to promote peaceful and creative processes. And I am sure that the good will of all members of the Olympic movement, our cooperation and joint efforts can really influence  the situation and change it for the better.

The Russian Olympic Committee is working hard to spread the Olympic values ​​and principles in its country. We constantly engage our famous Olympic champions and medalists in the various projects and programs. For children and young people it is very important to hear the opinion of prominent athletes, in order to follow their example.

But it’s even more important to get visual confirmation of what was said, to see for themselves how effective word and deed of a person who achieved great success in sport can be. This is the most important mission of each member of our big Olympic family – the community, for which peace, unity and progress are the main goals.

Together, inspired by the example of such organizations as Peace and Sport, we can use the power of sport to build a harmonious society in the whole world.

Thank you for attention!”