The Artek children’s center on Russia’s Black Sea coast has celebrated the opening of the 2018 Olympic Games where the children raised the Russian flag and performed the national anthem, as they lined up in the shape of the Olympic rings.
The event took place at the central stadium of the children’s center in response to the official opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang where the Russian team is taking part without the national symbols.
The ceremony at Artek was organized to support the Russian Olympic athletes and to declare that, despite the International Olympic Committee’s restrictions, Russian people see all the Russian athletes as a united team representing the country.
Today, on February 12, 2018, the video of the ceremony premiered on the Artek YouTube channel (see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsvddRdBfi0). The video card with the flag hoisting, anthem singing and wishes from children in different parts of Russia to the Olympic athletes coming from the same areas will be sent to the Russian Olympic Committee’s press service in the hope that it will be shown in the Russian House of Sport at the Olympics. This way the children at Artek wish success to the Russian athletes at the Olympics.
The tradition of supporting Olympic athletes at Artek dates back to 1956 when the Olympic Games took place in Melbourne. At the time, young fans established the Olympia Club and sent a message to the Russian athletes of the XVI Olympic Games with words of support. The message said in part, “We wish you victories over the strongest rivals. We are sure that you will beat the world records.” After the Melbourne Games, the Soviet team sent the Olympia Club the Olympic pennant of the USSR team, the Soviet Olympic badges and a letter from the chairman of the USSR Olympic Committee thanking them for their support. Since then, it has been a tradition at Artek to send messages to the national team.
Young fans today are also worried about our athletes taking part in the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang. The Artek Mail, the children’s education center, has 125 letters to our team. “I believe in you very strongly,” writes Yulia Cheremisina from Lysva. “When you feel sad, read this letter and remember that you are a role model for us already!” writes Diana Kovalyova from St. Petersburg. “Real patriotism is to serve your people, love your country and defend its interests no matter how hard it may be,” writes Nikita Zaikin from the village of Reshetnikovo in the Moscow Region.
Many children have written poems for the occasion. “Your country is with you despite the IOC/People without a conscience have taken away/ The bridge that leads to Olympus / But they won’t take away our main treasure – our dignity / And they will never see fear in our eyes!” wrote Maksim Shiyakhov from the village of Yandyki in the Astrakhan Region.
In 2017, Artek launched the Olympic Patrol program together with the Russian Olympic Committee, which organizes sporting events and meetings with Olympic athletes.