4th IOC Grand Prix Page 2 Bulletin 2 - Sunday, 3 February  2002

WBF President's Speech

José Damiani
President of WBF

If my job today is a very easy one, it is because I have only to thank you, the players, for coming here to support our actions in seeking entry to the Winter Olympic Games which would be the result of many years of work and effort.

Let me also thank on your behalf and on behalf of the entire world bridge community our great friend Marc Hodler - without his advice, his strong support and help we would never have achieved this step, and it is to him that we owe our presence here in Salt Lake City.

As you all know, this is the fourth time we have held the IOC Grand Prix; the first three editions were staged in Lausanne in the magnificent Olympic Museum. To be here for a few days, just before the Opening Ceremony of the XIXth Winter Olympic Games will, we hope, give us the chance to welcome the IOC members who are to decide later this year, in Mexico, whether or not we deserve to be part of the next Olympic Programme.

If, as we hope, they come to watch, they will at least get a good idea of who we are, and will see that bridge is a genuinely competitive sport, which is good for everyone irrespective of age, religion, sex or race. It is good for education amongst youngsters, good for maintaining the mental and physical health of the elderly, economically good for the winter resorts and has a great following with some 75 million people playing world wide.

I know that I can rely on you to show them that you are leading sportsmen and women, to show them how you compete in a spirit of friendship and competition that accords with the highest ethics and spirit of the Olympic Movement.

Finally, I ask you to join me in thanking Generali, our partner and sponsor for their support for so many years.

I wish you all a good stay in Salt Lake City. And I wish good luck to Bridge for its future.

ACBL President's Speech

George Retek
President of ACBL

It is a privilege - so to speak - to have the Olympic ideals and torch carried from Lausanne to Salt Lake City. We certainly hope that just as the IOC recognised bridge as a sport, the IOC will find it fitting and just to place our sport in the Olympic Programme.

We know that we face an uphill battle to achieve our aim. At this point we would like to acknowledge the valuable contributions made to our cause by José Damiani, Marc Hodler, Mazhar Jafri and Dan Morse among many others.

I trust that all of you who are participating in this historic event will be able to look back one day and say "Yes, I played in Salt Lake City and showed the world that we are worthy of joining the Olympic Family".

Let the Olympic spirit of fair play and friendship prevail at these competitions.

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