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Putin and Medvedev congratulate Russian athletes on victory in short track

February 15, 2014, 20:07 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Putin wished Viktor Ahn “new victories, good luck and all the best”

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© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Klimentyev

MOSCOW, February 15. /ITAR-TASS/. President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev congratulated Russian athletes Viktor Ahn and Alexander Grigoyev on their victory in men’s 1,000 m short track event in the Sochi Olympics on Saturday, February 15.

“You demonstrated unparalleled mastery in the 1,000 m short track competition, you were stronger and faster than your opponents and showed better technical skills,” the president said in his congratulatory message to Ahn.

Putin wished him “new victories, good luck and all the best.”

Medvedev said Ahn had rightfully won his fourth Olympic title in his career and wished him good luck and strong health.

The president also congratulated Alexander Grigoryev on his silver medal in men’s 1,000 m short track competition. He noted in his message that Grigoryev “won a battle of characters, represented Russia worthily and strengthened our national team’s medal standings.”

“Let the successful performance at the Sochi Olympics become a jumpstart for your new achievements, victories and records,” Putin said.

Ahn said a team tactic had helped him and Grigoyev win gold and silver medals on Saturday. Ahn has become the world’s first athlete to win four gold medals in short track competitions.

“Vladimir and I agreed on the tactic in advance. We planned to win these medals. But things did not go they we planned at first, and we are very happy to have won first and second places,” Ahn said.

“We are one team, and these medals are the best result of our joint work” he said. “Each time we pool our efforts, we succeed. This is what matters most of all.”

Infographics 2014 Olympic medals

2014 Olympic medals

Graphic featuring 2014 Sochi Olympic medals. ITAR-TASS Infographics
Ahn is also the first Russian athlete to have received a souvenir medal with a piece of the Chelyabinsk meteorite that fell in the south Urals city exactly a year ago.

Similar medals will be awarded to the winners of women’s cross-country skiing, ski jumping, skeleton, and men’s and women’s short track competitions held on Saturday, February 15.

Natalia Gritsa, minister of culture in the Chelyabinsk regional government, told ITAR-TASS that the commemorative medals were supposed to be presented to the athletes during the official award ceremony. “However the International Olympic Committee advised us to postpone the procedure for fear that this may raise misunderstanding among sport fans as to why two medals were awarded at the same time. We respect the IOC decision and will hand over the medals with fragments of the meteorite to the winners’ National Olympic Committees. They will award the medals themselves.”

Fifty such medals have been made. Ten of them will be awarded to Olympic champions. The others will be put on display at Chelyabinsk’s local museum and will then most likely end up in private collections.

The medals are made in three colors: silver, yellow and blue. It took about eight hours to make one medal.

A meteorite 17 meters in diameter fell in Chelyabinsk on February 15, 2013. Astronomers say it was the biggest celestial body to have fallen on Earth since the Tunguska Event of 1908.

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