28 july 2012

The Prime Minister visits the Olympic Village and speaks with Russian athletes


Dmitry Medvedev came to the Olympic Village to meet Russian athletes. The Prime Minister signed a transparent cube where visitors to the Village leave their good wishes for the Olympians. "Good luck!" Dmitry Medvedev wrote.

Later the Prime Minister talked with the athletes competing in diving, archery, handball and basketball, and had a photograph taken with the athletes and coaches as a memento.

Speaking about the first day of competition, Dmitry Medvedev said, "Today we have a good day in the game plan. The volleyball was great, and I do not want to overpraise anyone, but if we continue to play like that, the prospects are very good."According to the Prime Minister, the Russian volleyball players did not have it easy, because they were playing the England team, which enjoyed strong support from the stands.

Among the athletes was basketball player Ilona Korstin, who with the Russian national team won a difficult game against the Canadian team by a score of 58:53. The Russians were behind their rivals for much of the game, but they pulled off a win in the final minutes.

"The important thing is that we won. We're rooting for you, but you also get it together," Mr Medvedev told the athletes.

He added, "We hope that London will be a good city for us."

Mr Medvedev asked whether the athletes had watched yesterday's opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. "It was absolutely not Russian and not Chinese, but a British ceremony," he said.

"We need a ceremony of our own," he added. "It will not be worse – it will be different, it will be somehow more interesting."

Mr Medvedev also said that it was interesting to get acquainted with how the Olympic Games are organised in London, which is a major metropolis.

"It was quite difficult to organise everything in London," he said, "Let's see how it turns out, take a look at the successes and learn from the failures."

Journalists, who had gathered in the Olympic Village, asked Mr Medvedev about his time at yesterday's reception at Buckingham Palace. He said that he spoke with about 20 colleagues, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, with whom he discussed various topics ranging from agriculture to Syria. Mr Medvedev responded to a request for clarification on the situation in Syria by saying, "Let's not talk about Syria – the situation there is much more complex than in London."

"We hope that peace will come to Syria. We must all sit at the negotiating table for this to happen," Mr Medvedev added.

Mr Medvedev's visit to the Olympic Village was the last stop of the Russian Prime Minister's visit to London. He wished the athletes success, and addressing the coaches, he said, "And you, keep everybody on their toes."

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During Dmitry Medvedev's conversation with the athletes, he also telephoned judoist Arsen Galstyan's personal coach to congratulate him on Galstyan's victory.

"Give him my best regards," said Mr Medvedev. "He did great, winning the first gold for Russia."

Medvedev said that despite conventional wisdom, judo is not the easiest sport in which to win medals, and it is good that a precedent has been set. Then, turning to the assembled athletes, Medvedev said that he hoped to see them on the Olympic podium.

"We're counting on this very much and will be cheering you on," he added.