Russian flag raised in Vancouver

The Russian flag has been raised at the Olympic Village in Vancouver during a ceremony held on Wednesday.

Despite the fact that some Russian athletes have already been training at Olympic sites in the capital of the Winter Games and in the nearby ski resort of Whistler, the hoisting of the flag meant the team has officially arrived to the XXI Olympic Winter Games.

The ceremony, held in the rain, included welcome addresses, the performance of Russia’s national anthem and the raising of the flag itself, executed by soldiers of the Canadian army.

Russia also announced the name of their standard bearer for the Games’ opening ceremony. The president of the national hockey federation, Vladislav Tretyak, told Sportbox.ru that the choice fell to hockey captain Aleksey Morozov.

“I’m very pleased that I was entrusted with this honor. Russia's national team at the Olympics will be represented by hundreds of athletes, and the flag is entrusted to me. Of course, it imposes additional responsibility. I can’t say that this news has shocked me, it rather caused a pleasant surprise,” Aleksey Morozov said.

Morozov, who plays in the KHL, has led his teammates to two hockey World Championships in the last two years.

The opening ceremony of the Games will take place in front of 60.000 spectators at BC Place Stadium on February 12.

“On behalf of millions of fans, I wish you strong will and the best of luck” – Vladimir Putin

On the eve of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has offered some last minute support to Russia's top athletes during a special video conference.

He wished the team the very best of luck and hoped they'll make their nation proud and bring home many medals.

“We are all looking forward to your results. We very well realize the psychological condition our Olympic team is in now, but we are sure that you will cope with all emotional hardships, you’ll overcome everything and you will perform great,” Vladimir Putin said.

During the video conference, the Russian House in Vancouver where the Olympic team will be based was shown to the Premier.

Vladimir Putin’s only wish concerning the functioning of the House was that it wouldn’t distract Russian athletes from their massive-scale and ambitious tasks.

As for the House itself, he said it faces the hard task of promoting everything being done in Russia in terms of sports, and naturally this is a large-scale international presentation of the Sochi 2014 Olympic project.

The Russian Prime Minister was actually speaking from Russia's very own Olympic city of Sochi, which is set to host the next Winter Games in 2014.

And while in the resort city of Sochi, Putin has been able to catch up on Russia's progress on hosting the Olympics.

The Olympic team were shown the footage that was taken at the some of the key Olympic venues in Sochi – the ice hockey arena, figure skating and curling events venue, and the mountain cluster where the skiing events will take place.

Also, Vladimir Putin said that he has just come back from the Russian republic of Tatarstan where the preparations for another major event – the 27th World University Games in Kazan in 2013 – are in full swing.

The venues being constructed for it include the martial arts palace to house judo, wrestling and wrestling events, the football stadium that will be able to seat 45,000 fans, the water sports palace, the boxing center, the basketball arena, the volleyball center and the rowing channel.

Watch Vladimir Putin’s video conference with the Russian Olympic team

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