NIZHNY NOVGORDO, December 6. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday he had never set the task for Russia to win in the team result at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
The Russian president thus responded to a request at a meeting with workers of the GAZ auto enterprise to comment on the decision by the International Olympic Committee to bar the national team from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
"As for previous starts, including the Sochi Olympics, I have never set the task for the Sports Ministry or for other [Sports] Federations to win the Olympics. There was no such task," Putin said.
According to Putin, Russia "had a different super-task:" to prepare and worthily host the Olympic Games both for Russian athletes and sports fans and for their foreign counterparts. Putin said that Russia had successfully coped with this super-task.
The Russian president suggested recalling how events had developed during that period.
"We quickly forget bad things. But how did these events really happen? We constantly heard one and the same thing that Russia is unready, won’t be able and won’t do this. But when everything got off well and we did everything, then another line of a verbal attack began: this thing is bad, that thing is bad. Then the story with meldonium began," Putin said.
As the Russian president leader, athletes had used meldonium "for all their life" but, all of a sudden, it was declared a prohibited drug and disqualifications began.
"All this looks like an absolutely well-orchestrated campaign and a politically motivated decision. We see this and I have no doubts about that. The question is what the [Russian] Olympic meeting with national athletes and the coaching staff will decide. But let me repeat again: Russia will not block anything and will not create any obstacles for those athletes who personally decide to perform [at the Olympics]," Putin said.