The XIX Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City will take its place in the history of the world Olympic Movement as the first major winter sports competition of the third millennium.
The sacred fire of ancient Hellas, uniting the people of our planet, will be lit at the Olympic stadium far away from our Motherland.
Nevertheless you, dear friends, as you approach the start, should remember that millions of people in Belarus support you, worry, and wish you only victory.
And even if you fail to defeat strong rivals, let people say about you "this person has everything in his power". Do remember that the Olympic Games are not only a demonstration of strength, speed, endurance, but strength of a person's spirit as well.
Salt Lake City in America has taken the baton from the Japanese Winter Olympic Games city of Nagano where Belarussian athletes competed with dignity.
I had the opportunity to be present at these competitions to support our athletes in their quest for victory, and to ensure that those who ascended the podium as Olympic champion or medallist of the Games, were accorded the highest respect and honour.
With all my heart I wish our Olympians and coaches success at the XIX Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.
I believe these Games will enter new names in the chronicles of the Olympic Glory of the Republic of Belarus.
President of the Republic of Belarus,
President of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus