Speaking to the athletes, coaches and sports leaders gathered in the Dome Hall, the Prime Minister said that “When you mount the winners’ podium, there is a great and boundless feeling which unites us like a bond”, all the way from Transylvania to Slovakia, from Austria to America.
He said that the Olympic and Paralympic medallists have become models for the entire nation, and are “our heroes, from whom we can learn how to beat our opponents in sportsmanlike competition”.
He said that he is convinced that in Hungary today young children do not get up early in the morning to attend training sessions because there are sports scholarships or new sports facilities, but in order to one day become the new Katinka Hosszú, Danuta Kozák, Áron Szilágyi, Emese Szász, or László Cseh.
Naturally, in order for the best and the most determined people to reach their goal, we also need swimming pools, sports halls, scholarships and idols, he added. On behalf of the Government he promised that they will do everything they can so that as many children as possible can choose this path.
Mr. Orbán believes that the Hungarian Olympic and Paralympic athletes can also be the best models in the contest for hosting the Olympic Games. The realisation of the “shared dream” of hosting the Olympic Games “is slowly inching ever closer”, he added.
“If we work for there to be a Budapest Olympics with the same enthusiasm and perseverance that we saw from you in Rio […] if we manage to ignore the croaking of the cynics”, and if we also have some luck on our side, “David may defeat even two Goliaths”, he said, referring to Paris and Los Angeles: the other two cities bidding to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.
Congratulating the Rio medallists, Mr. Orbán said that what happens at an Olympic Games is just the very last stage of a path which for an athlete leads to the summit; it is true, however, that this is the steepest section, where one can hardly breathe.
“Now when we raise our hats to all the athletes who participated, regardless of the position they achieved, we see our athletes’ entire careers: the seemingly endless training sessions; the long series of competitions and tournaments; the sweat, the tears, the injuries, and the repeated recoveries after each setback”, he said.
Even getting to the stage of having a chance is an extraordinary performance, he continued, remarking that not everyone succeeds in taking advantage of such a chance because of exhaustion or bad luck, for health or psychological reasons, or due to questionable refereeing decisions.
Those who win medals at the Olympics are not only among the best in their own sports, but are the best of the best, he said in praise of the medallists.
The Prime Minister further remarked that Hungarian fans are sometimes unfairly critical, but in the same way that after a failure their criticism knows no bounds, “we show our champions the utmost admiration”.
“When it comes to sport, balanced and moderate judgement is something that eludes us”, he added.
Commenting on the Hungarian position in the medals table, Mr. Orbán said that when the number of medals is compared with the country’s population and its political and economic weight in the world, this result shines even brighter.