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MOSCOW, February 07. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian athletes made their debut at the Olympic Games in London in 1908 where three out of five Russian athletes won medals. Nikolai Panin-Kolomenkin won the Olympic “gold” in figure-skating while lightweight classical wrestler Nikolai Orlov and heavyweight Andrei Petrov won silver medals.
The USSR which appeared on the world political map in 1922 stayed away from the world Olympic movement for a long time. The first Soviet athletes took part in the Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland, in 1952. The Soviet Olympic team which comprised 295 athletes at that time was second in the overall standings.
In 1956, the Soviet Olympic team consisting of 53 athletes won the Olympic Winter Games in Cortina d’Ampezzo where it made a debut.
In 1980, the Soviet Union hosted the Summer Olympics in Moscow. However, most Western powers boycotted those Games. In Moscow, the Soviet team was the first in the overall medal standings having won a record number of gold medals - 80 - in its history.
In 1984, Soviet athletes had to miss the Olympic Summer Games in Los Angeles which were boycotted by the majority of states in the socialist camp.
The Soviet Union’s arch rivals included the United States during the summer Olympics and Norway and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) during the Winter Games. In that competition, the Soviets set medal records more frequently than any other team.
In 1952-1988, Soviet athletes won 1,204 medals, 473 of which were gold. They won six out of nine summer Olympic Games and seven out of nine Winter Olympic Games.
In 1992, after the collapse of the USSR, athletes from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), including Russia, competed at Olympic Summer Games in Barcelona (Spain) and the Winter Games in Albertville (France) as a unified team and were decorated with medals to the Olympic Hymn.
The national team of new post-Soviet Russia performed under its own flag at the Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer (Norway) in 1994. It won eleven gold medals and was the first by that indicator. At the Games that followed, Russian athletes did not rise higher than the third place (1998 -third; 2002-fifth; 2006 - fourth; 2010 - eleventh).
The youngest Olympic team in Russia’s modern history is going to represent it in Sochi. The average age of athletes is 22. The Russian team has 225 athletes. It is going to be the largest Russian Olympic team with the Soviet period included.