“The Budapest Olympics has its necessary ‘golden guarantee’ in every respect then”, he said.
“Yet Hungary believes that sport is always more important than any other political interest, and that is why it must never be diverted into the arena of political battles, and the Government supports the bid accordingly”, the Prime Minister emphasised.
He said that over the past 120 years the Olympics have become a “real passion” of Hungarian people, and this may have developed “because the Olympic spirit represents such a pure form of freedom that was once rare here in Central Europe”.
The Prime Minister highlighted that the Olympics are about fair competition, in which every nation has equal chances to win. He expressed his appreciation towards the IOC for “having this principle asserted not just in sporting events, but in the Olympic bid as well”.
Mr. Orbán said that the Agenda 2020 reform package approved by the IOC last December envisaging a cheaper and more economical Olympics “has brought us closer to the dream – as old as the HOC itself – of having the Olympic flame lit in Budapest in 2024”. He added that Agenda 2020 allows those cities to bid which so far have not stood much chance in competition against powerful giant metropolises.
“This is a historic opportunity and Budapest is ready to take it”, the Prime Minister said.
“The Mayor has given the capital a new image: today Budapest is the symbol of Hungarian success – it was so at its birth, and now it is living through its renaissance”, he said.
Mr. Orbán pointed out that the Hungarian capital is among today’s most successful Central European cities: it is diverse and safe, home at the same time to a lively party district crowded with young people and one of Europe’s most beautiful music academies.
IOC President Thomas Bach called the 120th anniversary of the IOC’s establishment a milestone, also in terms of the whole Olympic movement.
The German sports director recalled the traditions of the Hungarian Olympic movement and its success achieved in the modern games, as well as the “solid friendship” which has developed between the Hungarian and International Committees.
Mr. Bach pointed out that the reform package of the IOC, Agenda 2020, conforms to the needs of cities, and its message is that the opportunity to host the Olympic Games is extended to countries such as Hungary, and cities such as Budapest.
He highlighted that the IOC is happy to see the Budapest bid, since Hungary has played a significant role in the international Olympic movement from the beginning, and in terms of the number of Olympic champions per capita the country is among the most successful countries. He especially praised the recent efforts of the Hungarian government to develop sports and improve the role of sports in society.
The NOC President regarded the relationship of the Hungarian government and the HOC as an important one, and declared that there is a solid basis for hosting the 2024 Olympic Games.
He said that the fact that the HOC can identify with what Agenda 2020 entails is the cornerstone of the Budapest bid, yet he remarked that Budapest is about to face tough competition from Los Angeles, Rome and Paris.
HOC President Zsolt Borkai emphasised in his address that “no one understands how it could happen that Hungary – a country which ranks eighth in the all-time Olympic Games medal table – has not hosted a single Olympics out of the thirty-one held so far.
The Head of the HOC also praised the achievements of Hungarian Olympians and recalled that Hungarians have always competed in the Summer Olympics “unless politics interfered”, and Agenda 2020 brings about a crucial change and a historic opportunity at the same time for both Hungary and Budapest.
The IOC will announce the host of the 2024 Olympics in Lima in 2017.