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Bach proposes adding 'together' to Olympic slogan after re-elected

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-03-11 09:16
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International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach reacts after his re-election during the 137th IOC Session and virtual meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, March 10, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING - Thomas Bach proposed that "together" to be added into the Olympic slogan of "faster, higher, stronger" after being re-elected as the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during the virtual 137th IOC Session organized from Lausanne, Switzerland on Wednesday.

Being the only candidate for the election, the incumbent president won 93 out of 94 valid votes from IOC members through an online voting system to serve the presidency until 2025, as the IOC rules prescribe a first eight-year term for a president and another four years in case of re-election. Four members abstained from voting.

"Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart," he said. "This is more overwhelming given the reforms and difficult decisions we had to take."

The re-elected president then stressed that his campaign motto for his first run "unity in diversity" will continue to be true in his second and last term, before calling on a discussion with the IOC members and the Olympic community to add "together" in the Olympic motto.

"We could add after a hyphen - together. Faster, higher stronger - together," he noted, before saying "Thank You" in nine different languages.

As decided by the IOC Executive Board, the elected president will take office after the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, which will take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021.

The German has served his first term of office since being elected in September 2013, during which he pushed forward several reforms to the IOC and the Olympic Movement, including Olympic Agenda 2020 adopted in December 2014, under the mindset of "to change or to be changed."

The Agenda, which values sustainability, credibility and youth, has enabled the IOC to "put money where our mouth is," as Bach said in the closing report, which was approved unanimously by 95 valid votes.

The president highlighted achievement brought by the reform measures including saved costs for bidding and organizing an Olympic Games, increased fund to the Olympic Solidarity funds and anti-doping, new events popular among the younger generation at Paris 2024, and gender equality.

Bach announced Beijing as winner of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in 2015 and announced at the same time in 2017, for the first time in the Olympic history, two future hosts, Paris 2014 and Los Angeles 2028.

The president expressed confidence that the Beijing 2022 organizing committee is ready for the winter sport spectacle.

"We could already see at the recent One-Year-to-Go celebrations that their technical preparations are in an excellent state," Bach said.

"All the venues are completed. In fact, the test events for the mountain cluster just took place a few days ago. Despite the many challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, we can say already now with great confidence that the organizing committee is ready: ready to welcome the world's best winter sport athletes for this global celebration of sport."

The former fencing Olympic champion also geared the IOC to tackle challenges including mounting tension in the Korean Peninsula before PyeongChang 2018 and a joint decision with Japan to postpone the Tokyo 2020 for the historic first time facing the global COVID-19 pandemic.

"There is no doubt the opening ceremony (of Tokyo 2020) will take place on July 23," Bach reiterated in his opening remarks.

The three-day IOC Session will hear reports from future hosts on Thursday and review an updated Olympic Agenda 2020+5 for the next five years proposed by the IOC Executive Board on Friday.

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