Medvedev hosts Russian Olympic heroes

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has met the national Olympic team in the Kremlin in Moscow following their recent return from Beijing. He said he believes Russians can achieve even higher results.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has met the national Olympic team in the Kremlin in Moscow following their recent return from Beijing. He said he believes Russians can achieve even better results in the future.

The president congratulated the team on “its bright and vivid performance at the 29th Olympic Games”.

Each medallist, Medvedev said, will get a luxury car.

“It's clear that third place in the medals table is, to be honest, not bad at all,” Medvedev said.

“But this is not the limit to what we can do,“ he said. ”We should start preparing for the next Olympic Games in London. We have to raise new champions.”

The athletes presented him with an Olympic participant's medal. Without government support, they said, success could not have happened.

Nazyr Mankiev comes from wrestling superpower Ingushetia and trains in Siberia's Krasnoyarsk.

He says: “The president, the government sponsor us properly, they do everything for sport. The Krasnoyarsk governor chartered a plane to Beijing so a hundred people were shouting 'Krasnoyarsk, Krasnoyarsk' in the final. I could feel it.”

Two thirds of Russia's team were at the Olympics for the first time. That gives cautious grounds for optimism that the next Games will run to the Kremlin's satisfaction.

Russia's final medal tally comprised 23 golds, 21 silvers and 28 bronze – a total of 72 medals, putting the team in third place in the table.

To watch an excerpt of Medvedev’s meeting with the Olympic team, please follow the link.