SOT, Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (German): "Mr President, thank you very much for the cordial welcome, which I found in Moscow again. I am particularly pleased to come here again and to take part in the International Olympians Forum and to meet Olympic champions from 120 countries. This magnificent event is held on the initiative of the International Olympic Committee and with the support of the Russian Olympic Committee, so now we can say that the event was a great success. Athletes passed the Declaration, which stresses the value of the Olympic Charter and is aimed against discrimination in all its manifestations. This declaration emphasizes the autonomy of sport and also states the strong protest to all boycotts of sport events. And of course, the International Olympic Committee is happy to have the support of Olympic champions from around the world." *TRANSLATION AT SOURCE* Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach in Moscow, Wednesday as part of the first ever World Olympians Forum taking place in the Russian capital. The Russian leader said "we fully share the Olympic values and are ready to do everything in our power to support the Olympic Movement." The key theme of the gathering was the de-politicisation of the Olympics with participants passing a motion to that effect. According to Thomas Bach "this declaration emphasizes the autonomy of sport and also states the strong protest to all boycotts of sport events." This was echoed in Putin's address earlier in the day in which he said even the UN General Assembly backs the "autonomy" of sport. The forum is attended by current and former Olympians along with representatives of the International Olympic Committee and representatives of governments and sporting organisations. Prince Albert II of Monaco was also amongst the participants.
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