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Olympic chief lauds Russia's 'neutral athletes' performance in PyeongChang

February 16, 18:55 UTC+3 PYEONGCHANG

The 23rd Winter Olympic Games kicked off in PyeongChang with an official opening ceremony on February 9

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PYEONGCHANG, February 16. /TASS/. One silver and two bronze medals of athletes from Russia at the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang on Friday is an outstanding result and gold medals are in the view, Alexander Zhukov, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) told TASS.

Russian cross country skier Nikita Spitsov won bronze on Friday in men’s 15 kilometers race.

"Three medals in one day is a very good result and I am sure that the gold is soon to follow," Zhukov said in an interview with TASS. "Spitsov is just a super athlete and we hoped for the youth. But the way our cross country skiers compete at the Games is beyond of our all expectations."

Spitsov became the first athlete from Russia to win an Olympic medal in men’s 15 km free cross country skiing. Russian cross country skiers won medals in this competition last time at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, where they competed for the Soviet Union.

Earlier in the day, Russian skeleton racer Nikita Tregubov brought his team a silver medal. The 23-year-old athlete showed an aggregate result of 3 minutes 22.18 seconds after four heats, which earned him a silver medal.

"Tregubov pulled on a spectacular performance and proved that our skeleton racers are capable of competing and winning medals even without the team’s leaders," the ROC president said. "Voronina is simply a great athlete."

Russian speed skater Natalia Voronina, 23, raced to bronze on Friday in Ladies’ 5,000 meters competition.

Adding two bronze and one silver medals on Friday in PyeongChang, Olympic Athletes from Russia put the team the 15th place in the medal standings of the 2018 Winter Games with a total of eight medals - two silver and six bronze.

Late last year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended the membership of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) over doping abuse allegations but allowed clean Russian athletes to participate in the 2018 Winter Games under the Olympic flag and in the neutral status of an Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR).

The 23rd Winter Olympic Games kicked off in PyeongChang with an official opening ceremony on February 9 and will conclude on February 25.

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