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Sport Minister: Russian athletes should start working for the 2018 Winter Olympics now

February 27, 2014, 23:56 UTC+3 MOSCOW

They will take place in PyeongChang, South Korea, in 2018

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© Itar-Tass

MOSCOW, February 27, (ITAR-TASS). Russian Sport Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Thursday that Russia’s performance at the Sochi Olympics would stimulate athletes to train hard for the next Olympic Games. They will take place in PyeongChang, South Korea, in 2018.

“The analysis of the Russian athlete’s Olympic performance in each sport discipline will be carried out in the end of the sport season. Several World Cup competitions are still ahead in biathlon and cross-country skiing,” Mutko explained.

“We are going to make conclusions when all the competitions are over,” Mutko said. The minister was quite open that he had questions to the heads of some sport federations and head coaches. He stressed the importance of analyzing the setbacks in some sports in order to be able to make progress.

“We cannot afford resting on our laurels. We will immediately become outsiders. We should start thinking about the next Olympic Winter Games to be hosted by South Korea in four years from now,” Mutko went on to say.

He admitted the Olympic performance in some sports had been below expectations.

“I also feel responsible for these failures. Apparently, the Sport Ministry had paid insufficient attention to problems faced by some sport federations. It is unclear why the results were disastrous in curling. Before the Olympics, we had been absolutely sure that our ladies would fight for Olympic medals. They used to show good results at training sessions and previous competitions,” Mutko said.

The Russian sport minister was also disappointed with the performance of Russian ski sprinters and the Russian speed-skating team.

"The Dutch domination at the Adler-Arena was too challenging. In ski jumping, Irina Avvakumova performed worse than we expected her,” Mutko emphasized.

Nevertheless, the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi have been the best for Russia by the number of medals won.

Russian Sport Minister Vitaly Mutko believes that Russia’s good performance at the Olympic Games in Sochi makes it possible to speak about good prospects for the next Winter Olympics to be held in PyeongChang, South Korea, in 2018, considering that the Russian Olympic team is young.

“If we manage to maintain the level demonstrated in Sochi and if we raise fresh reserves, then we will have excellent chances to win medals in South Korea, “ Mutko said last Sunday ahead of the Sochi Olympic Games closing ceremony. He called on Russian athletes to improve their skills in curling, half-pipe, slopestyle, and ladies’ ski jumping.

The Russian sport minister also said that Russia’s victory in the overall team standings at the Sochi Olympics would give an impetus to developing sport in Russia.

“The Sochi Olympics have shown that we are on the right track, and we are not going to sheer away from this path”, Mutko said, adding that sport was a social policy priority in Russia.

“Such Games and such victories have given an additional impetus to society. People will now go in for sport,” Mutko stressed.

The minister said that the number of those going in for cross-country skiing had increased to 150,000 people over the past seven years.

“Russia has won the mass start cross-country race. I am convinced that popularity of sport will grow in Russia, and we should hurry to create conditions for it,” Mutko said in conclusion.

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