- © RIA Novosti. Alexei Nikolsky
© RIA Novosti. Alexei Nikolsky
NOVO-OGAREVO, Russia, November 6 (R-Sport) - President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Russia's "high expectations" of success at the London Olympics went unmet, and ordered officials to draw lessons from the experience.
After a slow start, Russia came strong to secure fourth place in the medal table behind the United States, China and Britain. The medal haul included 24 gold, 26 silver and 32 bronze.
"According to the plans of the sports federations and the Sports Ministry, out of 37 Olympic disciplines Russian athletes had the ability to take gold in 20," Putin noted. "But in London these high expectations were not confirmed."
Taken on face value, Putin assertion seems curious, bearing in mind the team was only one gold short of the pre-Games target as voiced by the head of the Russian Olympic Committee, Alexander Zhukov.
"Now it's extremely important to take measures that will help our athletes succeed and be worthy representatives of Russia at the world's sporting arenas," Putin said.
"The results of London should be a kind of a manual for action for us. It is necessary to analyze the results of the Summer Olympics and Paralympics once more; we need to assess how the athletes performed, how the preparation went and how that reflected on the results."
Judo fan Putin attended the Olympics in a personal capacity and watched from the stands Tagir Khaibulaev won Russia’s third judo gold before posing for photographers with the newly crowned champion.
Restoring Russia's sporting might has been a key theme of Putin's leadership over the last 12 years. The country is anxious to dominate the podiums at its first home Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014.
At a Kremlin reception for Russia's gold medalists on August 15, Putin called upon the country "to set the most ambitious targets" for its athletes.