A justified pride over what has been done, and a pledge for the future and new successes, were the key messages at the Montenegrin Olympic Committee's ceremony, which marked the ten years of existence of the national Home of Olympism.
Since July 7, 2007, and the General Assembly of the IOC in Guatemala City, MOC has been recognized as a National Committee, 204th in the world at the time. Only a year later, Montenegro competed in Beijing as an independent sports nation, at its very first Olympic Games. The medal won in London 2012 is one, but a luminous moment, a historical moment, and still only the first in a series of those pride-worthy moments which have made a mark during these ten years of progress and success.
President of MOC, Dusan Simonovic, proud host of the ceremony at the estate "Imanje Knjaz" in Podgorica, addressed the attendants – the President of the European Olympic Committee Kocijancic, Director of Olympic Solidarity Miró, Montenegrin Minister of Sport Janovic, deputies, representatives of diplomatic missions, Olympians, representatives of the National Olympic Committees, as follows:
"I am very pleased to see here a large number of friends, associates and partners of MOC, and to have the pleasure to welcome you all to to this important jubilee for MOC and the country of Montenegro. As you know, ten years ago our National Olympic Committee officially became part of the international Olympic family. I always emphasize that we are part of this big family, not the organization, because the idea that this movement carries is something that is above institutions, time, and even nations; in my opinion it is the most powerful idea globally – the idea of pure freedom and communion, painted in universal messages that it promotes. The Olympic Movement, especially during this unstable period for the worlds' society as a whole, precisely because of these ideas, plays an important role and, I sincerely hope, will contribute to overcoming all the cruelty which is happening on a global level", said Simonovic.
The president of the MOC highlighted the words of former IOC President Samaran, who said that the Olympic movement has evolved and expanded, offering the world its ideal of peace and fraternity.
"All of us, the heirs of the philosophy of Baron de Coubertin, can tell him that we continued his work, even when we have to start over each morning. Modestly, since no achievement lasts forever. Olympism requires everyday reassessment, in the light of social change and the inconsistency of politics. Society and social circumstances are changing, but sport has always been a universal language and a bridge that connects people and nations. We are absolutely aware that Montenegrin athletes are the best ambassadors of our beautiful country around the world, as well as promoters of human, and not just sports virtues. Sport is definitely the best Montenegrin brand."
Simonovic summed up the results for admiration.
"During this decade, our athletes participated in over 20 competitions organized or supported by the IOC and EOC. The previous period can be characterized as very successful, given the fact that at all international competitions our athletes showed quality and achieved good results. However, the work of COK does not only involve assistance and organization when participating in various multi-sports events. Most of our activities are focused on the development of sports and the promotion of the idea of Olympism. We do this with good cooperation with national and international sports associations, IOC and EOC, the Government of Montenegro, educational institutions, the media, as well as the general public."
A vision for the future is highlighted as perhaps the key item of President Simonovic's presentation.
"I believe it is more important to plan and discuss our future path. We have achieved a lot in a short amount of time, but we cannot allow ourselves to stop there. Society is constantly developing, as does the sports world. Therefore, we must take advantage of all the opportunities and potentials that our country gives us. We need a clear vision, or a precise strategy for the development of sports, translated into new, improved and qualitative legal solutions. This is an exciting time for MOC. Montenegro is officially recognized and acknowledged as a sporting nation, as evidenced by the fact that two years ago, in Reykjavík, the organization of Games of the Small States of Europe was entrusted to us, which will be held from May 27 to June 1, 2019. Our goal is to do more through the organization of this multi-sport event, both for the promotion of sports and Olympics, and for the promotion of our country. It is a partner project of MOC and our country, and I hope that we will use the opportunity given to us, in best possible manner."
President's speech was followed by words of gratitude towards long-time associates and friends of MOC.
"The road we've been through for the past ten years was far from easy. However, with the support of the Government of Montenegro, the International Olympic Committee, i.e. Olympic Solidarity and the European Olympic Committee, as well as our long-standing partners and sponsors, we managed to achieve almost everything we planned. The Montenegrin Olympic Committee has carried out numerous activities, which required from everyone high personal, as well as financial and material efforts. Backing us up, stood a firm, constant and compact sponsorship pull, to whom we owe immense gratitude. I have to thank the President of our country, Mr. Vujanovic, who organized the reception of the IOC and EOC officials; the state officials, representatives of the diplomatic corps, distinguished guests, members of the IOC and EOC, colleagues from friendly National Olympic Committees, representatives of national associations, top sportsmen, representatives of the media and all other friends of the Montenegrin Olympic Committee who were with us tonight.", Simonovic concluded.
Tomas Bah: Be proud of yourselves
Tomas Bah, the president of the IOC, sent a video message to the crowd, expressing regret that he could not attend the gathering.
"Dear President Simonovic, my dear Olympians, dear friends! By celebrating the tenth anniversary of your Olympic Committee, you celebrate ten years of Olympics in the country. That's why it is important for the whole of Montenegro. Ten years ago you made a commitment to hitting a strong foundation for the promotion of sports for everyone. Through numerous support programs, you spread the Olympic values, excellence and solidarity for the whole society. Your athletes are really the best ambassadors of the state. Their behavior and results deserved fame and brought joy to your countrymen. I will congratulate and thank Dusan Simonovic for being, and who still is, an outstanding leader of this respected National Olympic Committee. You have many reasons to be proud today. Also, you are the ones taking care of the future of Montenegrin sport. I wish you all the luck, and to celebrate appropriately!" said Bach.
Predrag Jokic "The Golden Star of the Montenegrin Sport"
Predrag Jokic, winner of the award "Golden Star of Montenegrin Sports", spoke with pride of words to attendees at the ceremony.
"I owe a great gratitude to President Simonovic and his associates at the Montenegrin Olympic Committee. Also, I want to thank my team mates, all the coaches who led me, my family, people who have put themselves in my success, as well as in this recognition. As an active athlete, I can only say on behalf of all Montenegrin athletes, that we will do everything to return from Tokyo 2020 with a new Olympic medal." Jokic pointed out.
Pere Miró: Expectations have been fullfilled
Pere Miró, the Director of the Olympic Solidarity fund, also received the special recognition of MOC.
"Dear friends, I am proud to be here. It was me who had the opportunity to submit to the members of the IOC the application of Montenegro for membership, ten years ago. Montenegro was one of more than 20 countries, for which I had the opportunity and the honor to do so. I am really proud of what you have done since that day, you have something to celebrate, because you have fulfilled all of the expectations. It's not just about the Olympic silver of your handball team, but also the results of your competitors in team sports, the results of young athletes and the activities presented by President Simonovic. Sport is an ideal tool for the development of society, aimed to unite people." said Miró.
Janez Kocijancic: Montenegro has seized a phenomenal opportunity
Janez Kocijancic, European Olympic Committee acting President, received a special recognition of the MOC from President Simonovic, and addressed the gathered.
"In the name of the European Olympic Committee, I will wish you as much success in the coming period. I keep nice memories of the beginnings of MOC. Some 12 years ago, my great friend Milo Djukanovic called me and told me that you were in the period of creating the basis for a national committee. He asked me for advice, because we walked that path in Slovenia 15 years earlier. My advice was simple, it was necessary to set the goal, to work transparently and clearly, to inform our friends in Belgrade and the IOC. So together, Djukanovic and I went to Lausanne and the then President of the IOC Samaran, and gave the application of Montenegro. From this modest participation in the meeting, I remember that MOC was given a chance to be ahead of time. Now I can say that Montenegro has properly seized this great opportunity! Among us small nations, it is often the case to be known about sports achievements rather than for the economy, nation or culture. I want Montenegro to continue on the same path." Kocijancic said.
President Vujanovic hosted a reception
Respect for the accomplished results
President of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic made a reception for the President of the Montenegrin Olympic Committee Dusan Simonovic, President of the European Olympic Committee Janez Kocijancic, and the Director of the IOC's relation with NOC's and Director of the Olympic Solidarity Fund Pere Miró.
The reception was organized on the occasion of the 10-year anniversary of the Montenegrin Olympic Committee, and Vujanovic expressed his respect for the achieved results of the MOC.
"Ten years of membership in the Olympic family opened the doors of the international sports scene to our athletes and allowed them to fight under the Montenegrin flag and gain high sports respectability. In the past decade, the Montenegrin Olympic Committee has become a prominent and respected member of the international olympic community, as evidenced by the presence of distinguished guests in honouring this significant jubilee" said Vujanovic.
Dusan Simonovic, President of MOC, spoke proudly about the realized accomplishments.
"Throughout the past 10 years, Montenegrin athletes participated in all competitions under the auspices of the IOC and EOC, and organized by the MOC. At these competitions, they demonstrated quality and achieved remarkable results. The crown of the achievements so far has certainly been the silver medal won by our handball players at the Olympic Games in London in 2012." said Simonovic.
The first man of our "Olympic House" has expressed his gratitude for the constant assistance that MOC has from the International and European Olympic Committee.
"For that reason, I am confident that the forthcoming Games of the Small States of Europe in 2019, which will be held in our country, will be successfully organized with the support of the relevant institutions of Montenegro, the IOC and EOC." said Simonovic.
On this occasion, on behalf of the important jubilee for the MOC, the President of Montenegro Vujanovic presented a special thanksgiving.