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Resurgent Russia Dominates Home Olympics

Published: February 24, 2014 (Issue # 1798)



  • Russia exceeded all expectations at its home Olympics by topping the medal table for the first time in 20 years.
    Photo: Alexandr Vil / RIA Novosti

At an Olympics designed to advertise Russias resurgence on the world stage, the host nations athletes played their part masterfully.

Russia exceeded all expectations at its home Olympics by topping the medal table for the first time in 20 years.

In the process, it laid to rest the failure of Vancouver 2010, when it won just three golds in a performance universally denounced as a national disaster.

Related: Putin Scores Gold With Sochi Miracle

The team has exceeded the plan. The rest isn't important. I congratulate everybody, said Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, the man who had overseen Russias return to the winter sports elite, pumping money into training programs and handing passports to foreign stars.

First place in the Sochi medal table was secured in fitting style with a Russian 1-2-3 in the mens 50km cross-country skiing Sunday. In a sprint finish, the home trio beat Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway, the only other country that could have caught Russia at the top.

That fairytale ending had seemed all but impossible a week into the February 7-23 Games, when Russia languished in the lower reaches of the medal table with two gold medals, both in its traditional stronghold sport of figure skating.

Related: Sotnikova Wins Stunning Figure Skating Gold for Russia

Then everything changed.

Short-track speedskater Viktor Ahn, newly naturalized from South Korea, won a gold medal that epitomized Russian sports new order. Then Alexander Tretiakov won the mens skeleton, starting a haul of three gold medals in sliding sports, none of which had previously seen a Russian champion.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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