President Alar Karis held a reception at Kadriorg on Monday, where the head of state expressed his gratitude to all athletes, coaches and support staff who took part in February's winter olympics in Beijing, China, and the winter paralympics, also in Beijing.
"Dear athletes and coaches of the Estonian Olympic team, thank you," the head of state began in his official address.
"Thank you for keeping the Estonian flag flying high and doing your best. Thank you for finding the faith and hope to test yourself, despite the volatile seasons caused by the coronavirus. Thank you for recreating the excitement across countless Estonian homes Thank you for showing that Estonia boasts great athletes, coaches and backgrounds. I am very proud of you."
The president's address cited freestyle skier Kelly Sildaru's bronze medal in the slopestyle event and her fourth place in the half-pipe, speed skater Marten Liiv's seventh place and Nordic combined skier Kristjan Ilves' ninth place as highlights, adding that Estonia's winter sportspeople exemplified the olympic ideals of friendship, solidarity, spirit and respect, ideals all the more valuable in the current situation, following Russia's' invasion of Ukraine which started just days after the games ended.
"Do not lose sight of those ideals. Do not lose faith in yourself, or your will to work and transcend yourself. Estonia is proud of you. Thank you."
Speaking on behalf of the other athletes in attendance, Kelly Sildaru, who clinched Estonia's first winter games medal since Turin 2006, said that: "I have to admit that I didn't meet all the athletes and coaches while at the Beijing Olympics. So it's great that as now our president is taking the time to invite all the Olympic athletes, we can reminisce over our competitions, our countless coronavirus tests, our fight against cold plus the very different emotions offered by the Beijing Olympics, which are all important, special and worth remembering."
Estonian Olympic Committee (EOK) chief Urmas Sõõrumaa also offered his gratitude to Sildaru and to the whole olympic and paralympic team at the event, held outdoors at the Kadriorg Rose Garden.
Editor: Andrew Whyte