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MOSCOW, August 23. /TASS/. Valentina Matvienko, the Russian Federation Council speaker, on Monday praised the Russian athletes’ achievements at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and said that they would give a new impetus to developing physical culture and sport in Russia.
"Our team confirmed once again that Russia remains a leading sport power. I am sure that the Russian athletes’ achievements will give a new impetus to developing physical culture and sport in our country," the speaker wrote in a government telegram addressed to Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov.
Matvienko thanked the members of the national Olympic team, the Russian Olympic Committee leadership and sport experts on successful performance at the Rio games. She noted that the games had been difficult for Russian athletes because of the situation which preceded them.
"Despite that the Russian athletes displayed the best qualities of our multi-ethnic people: strong will, stanchness, self-possession, the will to win and team spirit," the lawmaker said noting that was a good example of high moral qualities and patriotism for Russian society, especially youth.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev who met WWII veterans in the Russian city of Kursk earlier on Monday also praised Russian athletes for their performance.
"I think that you all know about the decisions which had been made (prior to the Olympics). Some of them were unfounded. Despite the fact that it is certainly necessary to fight against doping abuse, many decisions looked unilateral. But all that is a thing of the past. The most important thing is that our athletes stood tall as usual," the prime minister stressed.
"They performed more than well given that a quarter of the team was banned from competing in the Olympics," the premier emphasized. He said the Russian Olympians must have remembered how staunchly their grandfathers and great grandfathers fought on the fronts of WWII.
"It was inside them. Every athlete who represents our country definitely has this kind of staunchness in heart," Medvedev added.
More than 11,000 athletes took part in the XXXI Summer Olympic Games, which were held in Rio de Janeiro from August 5 to 21.
Russia’s battered Olympic team, which grew much smaller after many of its athletes had been disqualified, was fourth in the overall medal standings with 56 medals (19 gold, 18 silver and 19 bronze). Out of 280 Russian Olympians who went to Rio, 107 won medals of various value, falling behind the teams of the United States, Britain and China.