Russia’s sports minister displeased with winter season results

Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko says the display of Russian athletes in Olympic disciplines during the winter season cannot be called satisfactory.

­But at the same time the official pointed out that the Olympians have the needed reserve for successful performance in Sochi 2014.

The Russians have won just 14 medals at winter sports world championships, bagging two gold, seven silver and five bronze medals.

“I believe that the winter season is unsatisfactory in terms of our results," Mutko is cited as saying by “But we must bear in mind that it was only the first year of the Russian team’s training program for the Olympic Games in Sochi. Besides, our athletes have got up on the podium for 83 times at different World Cup stages, which we can compare to mini-world championships. So we have the opportunity and reserves to do better.”

“Our immediate goals are very clear, and we have in place a very comprehensive preparation programme. Next year, we have to rise to at least sixth place in world's winter sports rankings. If that doesn't happen, it will be a cause for alarm. If the system doesn't work this year, it will mean that the problems are rooted even more deeply than we thought,” he added.

Mutko also said that in its current state, Team Russia can only count on Olympic medals in hockey, skating, skiing, biathlon and figure skating.