The UN Resolution on the Olympic truce was presented today, in the Hall of Honour, in view of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, with 513 days left until the five circled event. The initiative, organised by the IOC member and Permanent Observer at the UN, Mario Pescante, had a large attendance of many representatives from the world of competitive sports, and some Olympic champions and azzurri medallists capable of writing the history of the movement, such as Manuela Di Centa (Cross Country), Mauro Checcoli (Equestrian Sports), Luca Pancalli (Pentathlon and Paralympic swimming), Novella Calligaris (Swimming), Daniele Masala (Modern Pentathlon) and Nicola Pietrangeli (Tennis). The paralympic athletes Oxana Corsa (Athletics) and Matteo Cavagnini (Wheelchair basketball) were also present.
In addition to the CONI General Secretary, Roberto Fabbricini, also in attendance was the Deputy Secretary, Carlo Mornati; the President of CONI Services, Franco Chimenti; several federal presidents and numerous personalities at the press conference, including the President of the Court of Auditors, Pasquale Squitieri, Gianni Letta; the Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Monsignor Melchor Sanchez; the Rector of the Foro Italico University, Fabio Pigozzi; the President of FITAV (The Italian Skeet Shooting Federation) and Senator, Luciano Rossi; the Senator Raffaele Ranucci; the former Undersecretary of State for Sport, Rocco Crimi and the Acting Deputy Chairman of the Constitutional Court, Luigi Mazzella.
CONI President, Giovanni Malagò, opened the meeting pointing out the importance of the subject and the fundamental role played by sport. “I congratulate Mario Pescante, IOC ambassador within the UN. We are the only sector where everyone agrees, because sport is a tool that brings people together beyond any barrier. There is a thread that binds us. It is the story that teaches us how to overcome so many stories of diversity. With a meaning which is more beautiful than the medals. We have to promote these subjects, keep them alive. Bach is doing well entrusting this task to Pescante and we are doing well in supporting it. All countries must be greater than what is happening in the world. We have to show how sport goes far beyond its mission. We must be one family, even if we are rivals on the field. A final farewell to the French athletes disappeared in the tragedy in Argentina”.
Mario Pescante developed the subject with a large series of cases called upon to enhance the content of the message. “We are experiencing a period of tormented coexistence in many parts of the world. In this context, talking about peace seems to be an absurd exercise but the UN and the IOC, cooperating to ensure the United Nations Assembly, on the eve of Rio 2016, adopts the Olympic Truce, through the sharing of the majority of countries. It is a privilege to start the path that will lead us to the Games tailor made for CONI, due to the prestige of our Olympic Committee in the world, thanks to the link of the Country with Christianity and due to the values it represents. I remember a letter that an Iraqi journalist, Rafid, sent me after the first Iraqi victory in the Asian Cup by Iraq, calling to emphasize the importance of sport as a source of development of an ideal born in 776 BC, when the sacred truce was declared in the first Olympic Games. That universal ideal is called peace. Today we only hear of clashes and not much about dialogue. No one should fear the sound of the word "peace". The world of sport is not afraid to do it, it never has been. The UN has fought to return to the Olympic truce, since the 1992 Barcelona Games. The official motto is not so much "Faster, higher, stronger”, as “the important thing is to participate", as it has a greater content. Baron De Coubertin said it, by wanting to gather women and men of all ethnic, political and religious beliefs, everyone is included, indiscriminately, in helping to build a world that includes and does not divide. The United Nations has urged the IOC, as a permanent observer within the Assembly, to raise awareness about the importance of the Olympic truce. The IOC will commit to doing this even before Rio. It is a symbolic message, a call that goes to the heart of young people from every continent, who speak the same universal language. People are already separated by borders but the geographical barriers are not the ones doing the separating, the dividing factors are ethnic discrimination, political rivalries and religious factionalism. Sport is a great bridge that connects people together. The Paralympics are another opportunity to show what the sporting world is capable of, what it represents. On the field they are opponents, but later on they are friends for life. There are many cases that prove this. I would like to mention the case of Eugenio Monti, the two-man bobsleigh pilot, who at the 1964 Innsbruck Games handed over to the English team (at that point in second position) the bolt to fix their vehicle and then win the race. Monti won the bronze but the IOC awarded him the Pierre De Coubertin Fair Play Award due to his gesture of sportsmanship. There are many other incredible stories, like those showing how sport can bring people together beyond diversity: I'm thinking of the shooting sport podium at the Beijing Games in 2008, with the Russian and Georgian athletes who embraced to celebrate. They were two mothers, who found out that the day before an armed conflict had broken out between their countries. They asked to live in a more peaceful world and they demonstrated it in that world. I'm thinking about how cricket has inaugurated the resumption of diplomacy between India and Pakistan or how sport has brought Israel and Palestine closer. Our movement has always preceded the political relations of cooperation between countries. Because the world behind the Olympic flag is one single family”.
Manuela Di Centa, Mauro Checcoli, Luca Pancalli, Novella Calligaris, Daniele Masala and Nicola Pietrangeli have remembered their experiences in the Olympic world, emphasizing the importance of sport as a synonym for friendship and union. The Olympic Village, the rules and the universal values of the Games as proof of diversity which becomes a resource and a reason for sharing. The importance of a strong message has always been renewed by CONI, a message that is never dull and always modern. A message that will accompany us up to the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.