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PETROPAVLOVSK KAMCHATSKY, January 18,/ITAR-TASS/. The Olympic Winter Games in Sochi will boost the development of mass sports in Russia, including among young people and children, President Vladimir Putin said.
“As for mass sports in general, the number of people playing sports in our country has doubled since the start of preparations for the Winter Olympics in Sochi,” Putin said on Sergei Brilev’s Vesti v Subbotu (News on Saturday) television programme on January 18.
The president declined to make any guesses as to how many medals the Russian team may win at the Olympic Games. “I won’t want to blow it. And there is no need for that. There is always an element of surprise in sport, an element of good or bad luck. And it’s hard to speak about these things in advance if at all possible,” Putin said.
“What is important is that our athletes look convincing, fight to the end, show their mastery and make their fans happy,” he added.
The president said he would like to watch biathlon competitions and new sports such as figure skating team events.
Putin also noted the successful performances by young Russian athletes lately. “If we put together some sort of a virtual Russian youth team, it excelled all of its peers on all counts last season. We are twice as good in winter sports as our closest competitors, junior team Norway,” he said.