Dmitry Medvedev met with champions and prizewinners of the 20th European Athletics Championships
The President congratulated Russian athletes on their team victory. The athletes won 24 medals in Barcelona: ten gold, six silver, and eight bronze medals.
PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Hello everyone,
Today is a busy day, but the truth is, I wanted to meet with you simply because our nation has recently gone through many heavy emotions because of the fires burning around the nation, as well as several other events. Throughout all this, only you have brought cheer to our entire nation. Your victory at the European championships was truly decisive and beautiful, and you have returned home as winners. Of course, it is no secret that many people were awaiting this victory. Nevertheless, you know very well for yourselves that expectations are one thing, but medals are entirely different matter. And naturally, 24 medals, of which ten are gold medals, are a brilliant result for our national team. There have been different years with different records, but every year in sports is becoming more and more difficult, and the ‘weight’ of each medal becomes increasingly heavier. Nowadays, it’s very rare for a particular national team to be dominant, so it is very nice to see you come back from this competition with so many medals.
I would like to say that a very large number of our people probably watched these competitions. In spite of the fact that it is currently the holiday season, and in spite of the difficulties we’ve had, these victories gave us a dose of the positive emotions that have helped our people overcome their misfortunes this summer.
I would like to sincerely congratulate you and thank you on behalf of our entire nation, because you have done a truly great job; your performances were both beautiful and masterful. And naturally, I hope this is a good start in preparations for the upcoming Olympic Games and other competitions. I hope that in the years that you still have to train and prepare for London [Olympics], you will not lose these capabilities.
I hope you will enjoy good moods. This is important for people who receive gold medals, and for every person in general. But what you have done is worthy of high praise. I want to once again sincerely thank you on behalf of our nation and our people. I feel that the Minister of Sports should consider having the President do more than saying some words of gratitude. After all, I can do other things; for example, I am good at signing various official papers, and sometimes, this includes state awards. Thus, perhaps the Minister will come up with corresponding proposals – and I’m always telling him to do this as soon as possible, so that they do not lose value; a year from now, it will no longer be clear who was a winner in what. You will remember, of course, but someone else may forget – people in the Ministry of Sports and elsewhere. If you think it’s appropriate, I am ready; please evaluate everyone’s input. And I want to once again thank every one of you.
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I can tell you from my own recollections that about five years ago, we started observing a certain trend in the sports facilities construction. I feel that this is great, because just recently, we weren’t building almost anything at all. Now, we are constructing much more. It is still not enough, but in any case, wherever I go now, our governors and regional leaders always take me to several places and tell me, ‘here we will have a stadium, here we are going to have another sports complex.’ So they have begun working in this sphere. We need to keep this fire burning. Thus, I would like the Government to work on it, and for you to get involved from your side, constantly reminding them about the need to build sports facilities, because if we do not do this, then the results will not be as good. I will also be putting some effort into it.
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I think there are some people who have never engaged in certain types of sports, although they might like to – that’s just how their lives worked out. Still, there is almost no one out there who has never engaged in some form of track and field. They have done these sports in school, or elsewhere. Thus, our love for track and field is truly national. I think that this is a good thing.
I would like to once again wish all of you success, because this is a good year, and the results have been spectacular. For everyone who has won gold, silver, and bronze medals, these are all fantastic results. This is a good start or continuation in your athletic careers. We will continue supporting you in the future, and we want to thank you for your most recent achievements.