MONTREAL (AP) IOC President Thomas Bach returned to the city where he won a fencing gold medal for West Germany at the 1976 Olympics.
Bach became an honorary citizen of Montreal and received a key to the city Thursday from Mayor Denis Coderre at a City Hall ceremony.
”As you can imagine, my emotions are strong,” Bach said. ”I’m very pleased to receive this distinction from the city where I achieved my dream a certain time ago.
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”It is like the emotions I felt on 25 July, 1976 when, with my teammates, I won the gold medal in foil.”
Bach spoke at a fundraising luncheon and planned to unveil the Olympics rings logo atop the new offices of the Canadian Olympic Committee.
Nearly 300 Olympic athletes were to attend the opening. Most were Canadian, but they also included Nadia Comaneci, the Romanian gymnast who won three golds and scored a perfect 10 at the 1976 Games. Greg Louganis, who won a silver medal as a 16-year-old diver, also attended.
Montreal is the first city outside of IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, to display the Olympic Rings as part of a policy of openness brought in after Bach took office in 2013.
Bach said having the rings displayed showed that ”being an Olympic city doesn’t end with the closing ceremonies, but that the games leave a great legacy to a city and its citizens. For me, it is very moving that Montreal becomes the first Olympic city that will benefit from this reform.”
He planned to return to Toronto for the opening ceremonies of the Pan Am Games on Friday night.