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PM Letta in the Village, greetings and gifts to the azzurri. "They will be up to the task. The Government fully supports the bid for 2024"

phoca thumb l lettaferrarogmt007The sun illuminates building 20 of the Coastal Village of Adler, proudly wrapped in the tricolour flags. This is the fine sight greets the arrival of Prime Minister Enrico Letta at the headquarters of the Italian mission. The Premier has kept his promise. He wanted to greet the athletes, the technical staff and all the members of the Italian delegation. A quick trip through the rooms of the building, a request for information on the races, handshakes and affectionate encouragement, in an atmosphere of warm feeling. Then the meeting with the athletes. The azzurri of long track skating, including Matteo Anesi and Mirko Nenzi, the questions put to Nicole della Monica, Stefania Berton and Matteo Guarise, of figure skating, and finally the good wishes to Carolina Kostner for her 27th birthday. A Palazzo Chigi medal as a gift to the flag-carrier in Turin in 2006, presented in the name of the team in front of the President of CONI, Giovanni Malagò, the Secretary-General, Roberto Fabbricini, and the Head of Mission, Carlo Mornati, for an adventure to remember and to go down in the annals. So many questions, passion for sport underlying everything. "What aspects matter most in your preparation?", the most frequent question, and then geographical anecdotes, sporting memories, future prospects. A glance at the trials for the men's downhill skiing, with Fill and Heel the protagonists, and then moving on, always on foot, to Casa Italia. For a press conference about intentions, ambitions and clear analysis.

President Malagò spoke first. "It will be difficult to win medals but our conscience is clear, we have worked well, in full cooperation with the Federations. In the coming years we have to fill the gaps, including facilities, related to long-track skating and we will give our all. The new law will help in this regard. We are glad of the presence of Enrico Letta, he kept his word, showing his integrity and his feeling for us. A sign greatly appreciated, especially at international level. "

And he, the Prime Minister, answered questions too, feeding hopes for Sochi 2014, and reviving the dream of an Italian candidacy for the Games of 2024. "In the Village I have seen so many impressive faces, people who have sacrificed a lot to get to the Games. I am convinced that, whatever happens, they will do their best to represent our country with dignity. For us, sport is fundamental and that obviously includes winter sports. It means so much for what it gives to us. I could not miss an occasion like this. There is so much of system Italia in Sochi. There are some 50 companies that have worked on the Games, they are doing well and you glimpse the tricolour flag everywhere and that is important. I'm glad to be here, to have demonstrated the closeness of the country to the azzurri mission and to our businesses. I came here to represent those values that motivate our actions and I am convinced that this experience will be good for Russia, for the effects that it will produce. I have had many interesting encounters, including one with the IOC President, Thomas Bach. I made clear to him the intention of the Italian Government to support, with all the means necessary, a candidacy for the Olympics of 2024. It will be one of the commitments in the coming months although it must be carefully managed. I saw Shinzo Abe, my Japanese colleague, and I invited him to Italy. They have been awarded the Games in 2020 and I will talk with him about it. He will probably be in Rome in May and that is an important staging post along the path we are following. Naturally, we will not seek to copy the costs and the concept of Sochi. We will do what is within our reach. "