President Vladimir Putin urged the Russian Olympic team to bring victory for the country as he wished the sports stars well for the London Games at a glittering Kremlin ceremony.
To give extra inspiration, the special guest at the ceremony was the two-time Olympic discus champion Nina Ponomaryova, who won the first Olympic gold for the Soviet Union at the Helsinki Games in 1952. London-bound athletes present included Olympic high jump champion Andrei Silnov, hammer thrower Tatyana Lysenko and the basketball legend and former NBA star Andrei Kirilenko.
“We all expect victories and results from you,” said Putin. “I wish that due to your victories, the flag of the Russian Federation will be raised and the national anthem heard at the stadiums of London as much as possible. Sport is above all about believing in yourself and being able to be victorious over yourself. Show us again that you can do this.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2012.
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