Bach, who was elected head of the IOC in September, also said
people of all 'perspectives' were welcome at the Olympics.
Russia triggered criticism and boycott calls for the Games when it
banned spreading "gay propaganda" to children in June. Critics have
denounced the law as discriminatory and said it was a curb on rights
to free speech and assembly.
Russia is gearing up for its first winter Olympics, which start on
"We remember and grieve for the innocent victims of conflict and
especially the recent victims of Volgograd," Bach said at the
athletes compound, with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak
and top IOC officials looking on.
The December bombings, which killed 34 people, were aimed at
derailing the Olympics, on which President Vladimir Putin has staked
his and his country's reputation.
The Games at the Black Sea resort, which have become the most
expensive at more than $50 billion, are being held under tight
security as Islamic militants in the nearby north Caucasus battle
for independence from Russia.
One of their leaders had urged fighters to stop the Games from
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"Our presence here today is a rebuke to those whose motives and
goals stand in sharp contrast to the spirit of harmony and global
solidarity at these Games," said Bach.
The German also made a veiled reference to the furor regarding the
anti-gay propaganda law.
"Men and women from different backgrounds, different cultures,
different religions and different perspectives live side-by-side in
harmony," he said of the athletes' village that will house some
2,200 people from 47 nations.
"Here in the village, the remarkable diversity of human life finds
unity through sport," he said before a quick game of table tennis, a
tour of the gym and the athletes restaurant.
Bach has discouraged athletes from demonstrating against the
controversial law on the podium but said they could express their
opinions at news conferences without fear of sanction.
However, Games organizers said last week that even that would go
against the Olympic Charter's ban on any political statements within
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann)
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