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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 Russia’s resurgence on the world stage, the host nation’s 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 Russia’s 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 men’s 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 sport’s new order. Then Alexander Tretiakov won the men’s 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

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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