Kiska to Olympic Medallists: You Are Role Models for Society

President Andrej Kiska receiving 2016 Olympic and Paralympic medallists on December 14, 2016 (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, December 14 (TASR) – President Andrej Kiska on Wednesday received medallists from the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro, thanking them for representing the country successfully abroad.

Aside from their sports skills, Kiska also praised the medallists sportsmanlike conduct. “I don’t know if we’ve ever had so many gold, silver and bronze medals here as we do today. The year is slowly coming to a close, and the time for reflection draws near. From the sports point of view, we can look back with great pride and joy,” said Kiska in his speech.

“I wished you success before you left for Rio de Janeiro. You were going off to represent not only yourselves but also our country, and you were successful. You’ve brought home a great deal of medals and given joy to the entire nation. I’d like to thank you in my own name and also on behalf of the whole country. You might not realise today how important you are for Slovakia. You’ve shown that determination, hard work and sacrifices are the right way to go and the ingredients for success. For our society you are role models, maybe also because you behave like human beings. Many look up to you as their idols. Young people of today don’t listen to us, politicians, they see their role models in you,” said Kiska.

After informal talks with the invited athletes, their coaches and top representatives of the Slovak Olympic Committee headed by president Anton Siekel and honorary president Frantisek Chmelar, the head of state also posed for photographs with Olympic medals. In return, he gave their holders silver coins embedded in wooden plaques.

The Slovak team managed to win two gold and two silver medals at the 2016 Olympic Games and ranked 37th among the competing countries. At the Paralympic Games the athletes won 11 medals (sharing 25th place with Belgium).