Thomas Bach, IOC President: “Without solidarity there is no peace”

“This year, the International Day of Peace theme 'End Racism. Build Peace' is a message that the IOC and the Olympic Movement carry with particular resonance.

The fundamental idea behind the Olympic Games is to unite the world in peaceful competition. And peace is at the very heart of this mission.

During the Olympic Games, athletes embody this mission of peace as they put aside the differences that divide the world. They engage in intense competition while living peacefully under one roof in the Olympic Village. In this, the Olympic Games are a formidable symbol of peace.

But peace is more than just ignoring differences. It is about building a better world where everyone can flourish, a world in which people are treated equally, a world free of racism and all forms of discrimination.

"A policy of non-discrimination alone is not enough to build lasting peace"

Pierre de Coubertin revived the Olympic Games to contribute to peace through sport. He thus declared: "We will not have peace until the prejudices which today separate the different races are gone."

This policy of non-discrimination is therefore an integral part of the DNA of the Olympic Games and of the IOC as an organisation. Under it, equality during the Games is guaranteed to everyone, regardless of social origin, gender, race, sexual orientation or political beliefs. This principle of non-discrimination is enshrined in the Olympic Charter and is embodied by the athletes at the Olympic Games, thus constituting a source of inspiration for billions of people around the world.

However, a policy of non-discrimination alone is not enough to build lasting peace. We must not only respect each other, we must go further and support each other. We must show solidarity. Without solidarity, no peace.

Solidarity is at the heart of the Olympic Games. This is why the IOC redistributes 90% of all its revenue to support athletes and sport development worldwide.

“What goes for Ukraine also goes for the other members of our Olympic community”

Driven by its commitment to solidarity, the IOC formed the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and another team for the Tokyo 2020 edition. For the first time in Olympic history, refugee athletes competed side by side with delegations from all other National Olympic Committees, sending a message of hope and inclusion to all refugees around the world. While they have no national team to belong to, no flag to march behind, and no national anthem, these refugee athletes were welcomed into the Olympics behind the Olympic flag and anthem. Today, we offer them a home in the Olympic Village. This particularly moving moment conveyed the following message: 'you are our fellow human beings and you are an enrichment for our Olympic community'.

Today, we stand united and reaffirm our full solidarity with the Ukrainian Olympic community. What goes for Ukraine also goes for the other members of our Olympic community. We are a global organization. This is why we support the Olympic communities in Afghanistan, Yemen and in so many other countries affected by wars and conflicts around the world.

These solidarity efforts are also at the heart of our commitment to better understanding between peoples. In this regard, the IOC has built bridges through sport and paved the way for greater understanding, promoting peace and reconciliation. This is especially true in recent years in many conflict situations, such as the two Koreas, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Serbia, Kosovo, Israel, Palestine, Iran and many other countries.

As humanity faces so many simultaneous existential crises, our mission of peace and solidarity is more important than ever. »

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