At an Olympics designed to advertise Russia’s resurgence on the world stage, Russian athletes did their best gaining 33 Olympic medals and topping the general medal count.
Russia exceeded all expectations at its home Olympics by topping the medal table for the first time in 20 years. It has somehow become the compensation of the failure of Vancouver 2010, when Team Russia won just three golds in a performance universally denounced as a national disaster.
“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.
It is significant to mention that this result seemed to be impossible just 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.
Author: Julia Alieva