Dear participants of the III Winter Military World Games, I am delighted to welcome you to Sochi!

The Military World Games is a unique event which unites military servicemen from all over the world, facilitating greater understanding between different nations and continents. The Games are traditionally held one year before the Olympic Games, the planet’s main sporting event. I would like to remind you that the history of many Olympic sports can be traced back to military disciplines.

It is a great honor and a great responsibility for our country to host the III Winter Military World Games. Since the end of May 2015, when Russia was granted the right to host the 2017 Games in Sochi, the Organizing Committee has carefully put in a huge amount of work to arrange this important sports event. The Commission of the International Military Sports Council or Conseil International du Sport Militaire (CISM) has praised the quality of sports facilities and courses in Sochi very highly. We will make the utmost effort to ensure this sports event is held at the highest level!

The Torch Relay is one of the most memorable moments of each Olympic Games. We have decided to support this tradition by holding a similar Torch Relay on the day before the Military World Games. The torch was lit at several extremal geographical locations of our vast country: in the four military districts of the Russian Federation and on the Northern Fleet, namely Curonian Spit, beyond the North Polar Circle, Mount Elbrus, Russia’s largest integrated iron-and-steel works in Magnitogorsk and on Sakhalin Island. On Day of the Defender of the Motherland, February 23, the fires will be united in Moscow, the heart of our country, before heading off to Sochi afterwards.

The flame of the Torch symbolizes the aspiration for perfection, fight for victory and world peace. My dear sportsmen, let the motto of the International Military Sports Council “Friendship through sport” become your motto too!

Mikhail Baryshev