On June 21, the official opening ceremony of Vladimir Potanin’s Olympic Collection took place in Minsk City Hall. It contains unique items from all the modern Olympic Games, starting from the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens up to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Many honoured guests were present during the solemn ceremony: ROC President Stanislav Pozdnyakov, Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation Pavel Kolobkov, EOC President Janez Kocijančič, ROC Secretary General Anastasia Davydova, members of the EOC Executive Committee Spyros Kapralos and Yury Yuryev, RIOU Rector, Academician Lev Belousov, Vice President of Norilsk Nickel Dmitry Pristanskov and Head of the Culture Department of the Minsk City Executive Committee Vitalina Rudikova.
– On behalf of the European Olympic Committees I would like to thank Vladimir Potanin for creating this stunning collection, – said Janez Kocijančič. – While members of the Olympic movement remember the glorious past and carefully preserve its heritage, there is no need to worry about the future. Sport cannot exist without science. Many thanks to RIOU Rector Lev Belousov for the opportunity to see these beautiful Olympic objects first hand. Let’s continue this crucial work together.
– We will continue to tell the world about the history of the Olympic movement by organising such exhibitions, – stated Stanislav Pozdnyakov. – I hope that next year we will finish the construction of the Olympic Museum, where part of this wonderful collection of artifacts will be on display. It is necessary to promote Olympic values and pass them on to future generations.
At the moment, the collection consists of 380 exhibits: 135 gold, silver and bronze medals of the summer and winter Olympic Games, 30 Olympic torches, 39 honorary badges, medals and orders, cups, statuettes and horns from different years, as well as other Olympic items.
– I am sure that the exhibition will give rise to great interest among the residents of Minsk and the fans who came to the 2nd European Games, – emphasised Pavel Kolobkov. – I especially liked the way the exhibits were put on display. I have no doubt that the capitals of the future Olympic Games and other major multi-sport competitions will gladly host Vladimir Potanin’s collection. This is the real Olympic legacy that Russia is presenting to the world.
Despite the fact that all the exhibits were bought with funds donated by the President of the Norilsk Nickel company, its actual owner is a non-commercial partnership managed by RIOU.
– Our collection of artifacts is unique because only Olympic objects are represented in it: medals, horns, diplomas and torches, – said Lev Belousov. – The collection has an unrivaled artistic value, able to clearly demonstrate the development of fine art from the late 19th century up to the present day.
At the end of the ceremony, the guests of honour cut the symbolic red ribbon, and the President of the EOC presented Lev Belousov with souvenirs with logos of the European Games and European Olympic Committees.
Stanislav Pozdnyakov conducted an improvised excursion for Janez Kocijančič during which he paid special attention to the stand dedicated to the 1980 Games in Moscow. Next year in 2020, the capital of Russia will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first Olympic Games held in Eastern Europe.