SOCHI, Russia – The president of the IOC says Russia delivered what it promised at the Winter Olympics, creating what he dubs "the athletes' games."
Thomas Bach said Sunday night during the closing ceremony that the competitors living together in the Olympic villages sent a powerful message from Sochi to the rest of the world: "The message of a society of peace, tolerance and respect.
"I appeal to everybody implicated in confrontation, oppression or violence: Act on this Olympic message of dialogue and peace," he said.
Bach says Russia delivered excellent sports venues, outstanding Olympic villages and "impeccable organization," taking only seven years to achieve something that took decades in other parts of the world.
Sochi was awarded the 2014 games in 2007.
Bach also thanked volunteers in Russian, then said in English that their engagement will help build stronger civil society in Russia.
"We arrived with great respect for the rich and varied history of Russia," Bach said. "We leave as friends of the Russian people."
— By Oskar Garcia — Twitter http://twitter.com/oskargarcia
Associated Press reporters are filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: http://apne.ws/1c3WMiu