‘Russia among favorites in London’ – handball legend

The Russian men's handball team failed to qualify for the Olympics for the first time, but the country's ladies are aiming high in London. RT asked the sport's greatest Olympian, Andrey Lavrov, to share his views on Russia's chances.

Despite finishing off the podium at the World Cup last year Lavrov is certain Russia is capable of winning the Olympics, though it will be a difficult task.

“We're still one of the favorites in London. Probably, only Norway is considered better than Russia. But still there are about seven teams who could deliver the goods at any given time. So I don't think we should be overjoyed about what seems an easy group for Russia in London,” the three-time Olympic champion said, before adding:

“OK, we're probably the favorites to finish top of the group. But our possible quarter-final opponents could pose a real threat.So, it's crucial we are mentally ready for the Games. And, as far as I know, we've got an experienced team, and I hope they'll claim gold.”

Speaking about Russia’s medal prospects in London he forecast the team would finish third overall behind the usual suspects – the USA and China.

“It's no secret that lately the host nations have tended to take five, six or seven gold medals they never expected to win. And this is actually quite alarming. However, the way the Russian team have been preparing – especially for the last couple of years – gives us a lot of hope,” he said.

“The coaching staff is in place, everything has been thoroughly analyzed. So I don't think the initial forecast will differ much from the results, at the end of the day. I think the Russian athletes can win 23 to 25 golds, which would put the team in third place overall.”

Watch the video for the full interview!

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