|Chinese President Xi Jinping talks with members of the Chinese Winter Olympics delegation in Sochi, Russia, Feb. 7, 2014. Xi Friday conveyed festival greetings to the Chinese Winter Olympics delegation, talked with athletes and coaches and boosted their morale ahead of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)|
SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 7 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping met here Friday with his country's delegation to the 22nd Winter Olympic Games and gave a boost to the athletes' morale.
"The Chinese people are paying great attention to you," he told the delegates, noting that they traveled a long journey to this Russian resort city for the event during the Spring Festival.
Sitting down with the athletes and coaches, the president said he came here to boost their morale in person and learn about their preparations for the upcoming games.
Vancouver Winter Olympics silver medalist Tong Jian, short-track speed skating coach Li Yan and other representatives briefed Xi on their training and preparations.
They told the president that the outstanding achievements they have scored result from the nation's cultivation, the virtues of dedication and fortitude, and scientific and diligent training.
China, Xi said, has made significant progress in sports over the past years, realizing breakthroughs in some winter sports, but still lags behind in some others.
By successfully hosting the Beijing Olympic Games, the Chinese people have realized their Olympic dream, the president said, while calling for continued efforts to make China a strong sports power.
Pointing out that China has never been closer to realizing the goal of the nation's great renewal, Xi said every individual's dream and the national dream of becoming a strong sports power are closely linked with the Chinese dream.
Xi wished the athletes success at the games, but added that good results are not reflected merely in the number of medals, but more in the Olympic spirit they demonstrate by constantly improving and excelling themselves.
Xi arrived here Thursday at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin for a three-day visit, his first foreign trip this year.
The Sochi Olympics opens on Friday. Nearly 3,000 athletes from 87 countries and regions will contest for 98 gold medals in seven sports in 16 days of competition.