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Remarks by Ambassador Lyall Grant, of the UK Mission to the UN, at the “Passing the Summer Olympics Baton” event at the United Nations
Thank you, everyone, for joining us this afternoon as we mark One Year On since the London 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics and pass the baton to Rio 2016.
I especially thank the Secretary-General for his participation. As you know he played a central role in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics. We have the shirt that he signed, we have the baton. Who can forget the image of ‘Big Ban’ holding the baton in front of Big Ben during the torch relay just before the Summer Olympics? And I would also like to thank Ambassador Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado of Brazil for co-hosting this event with me today and many of my colleagues have come and we really appreciate you coming along to join us this afternoon.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
One year ago, we watched the Opening Ceremony to the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games and during those games new records for female participation were set, athletic records were broken on the track, in the pool, in the velodrome and many other of the games venues.
And here at the United Nations we promote the power of sport to promote peace amongst peoples and nations. And we have at amongst us at least one famous Sports Minister from Kazakstan, our good friend, the PR of Kazakhstan. All 193 UN Member States co-sponsored the UN General Assembly Resolution on the Olympic Truce last October. The United Kingdom mobilised the ideals of the UN Olympic Truce Resolution to show that many aspects of the Resolution can be developed to promote conflict prevention and peace. Working in partnership with the UN, other Member States, National Olympic Committees, Parliamentarians, and civil society the United Kingdom has delivered over 80 Olympic Truce activities on every continent over the last 12 months.
And let’s not forget the Paralympics, for the Paralympics are another opportunity for sport to bring peace and understanding. The London 2012 Paralympics caught all of our attention with again, with the largest participation ever and the largest audience ever for disability sport. The United Kingdom continues to work with the International Paralympics Committee to help increase and support their membership while sharing our experience with other countries as we work to change attitudes toward disability and toward disability sport.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The London 2012 Games were remarkable and unforgettable. And we hope they will leave a lasting legacy. International Inspiration, which is London 2012’s international sports legacy programme has already enriched the lives of more than 11 million children in 20 countries throughout the world through high-quality and inclusive physical education, sport and play. The programme is on course to reach the target of 12 million children by 2014. This year, to mark the one year anniversary, British embassies around the world are hosting events like this one, often in partnership with our Brazilian successors.
We’re proud of London 2012 and will continue to deliver its legacy over the coming years. We thank you all for your support and look forward to working with all of you, here and in your home countries. The Olympic and Paralympic Games are our opportunity to make our world healthier, more united, and more peaceful.
And now, as we turn our attention to the future of the Games, I welcome Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the podium to say a few words.