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Russia Prepares to Go For Gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics

The 2008 Beijing Olympics presents a golden opportunity for many athletes from around the world to prove their skills and endurance to a world-wide audience – and winning a gold medal is certainly every Olympic athlete’s ultimate dream. Russia is no stranger to the winner’s podium and the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) is confident that the country’s 470 participating athletes will bring home even more medals than ever before.

The vice president of the ROC, Vladimir Vasin, has confirmed that it is the goal of the Russian team members to be placed among the top three in all events. Leonid Tyagachev, head of the ROC, acknowledged that it will no easy task to surpass the United States and China, but expressed his confidence in his fellow Russians to improve on the excellent results achieved at the 2004 Athens Olympics where Russia finished third overall, taking home 92 medals – 27 gold, 27 silver and 38 bronze. The 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the 2000 Sydney Olympics saw Russia claiming the second highest number of gold Olympic medals.

Russia’s female athletes will be playing a significant role in their country’s medal-winning strategy, and a look at the résumés of Russian participants confirms that they have every reason to be confident. Take for example the women’s tennis singles players who will be representing Russia at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The team includes Maria Sharapova (ranked at number 3 in the world), Svetlana Kuznetsova (4th ranked), Elena Dementieva (6th ranked) and Dinara Safina (9th ranked).

The athletics squad includes record holding star Yelena Isinbayeva, who recently set a new world record of 5.03 meters for pole vault. The long jump event includes athletes who excelled recently at the world championships held in Osaka, Japan. Other gold medal hopefuls include Olga Kaniskina (20 kilometer walk), Anna Chicherova (high jump), Yekaterina Volkova (3,000 meter steeplechase) and Yuliya Pechenkina (400 meter hurdles), while the Russian synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics teams hope to repeat their Athens gold medal achievements. Other team sports that are expected to shine under the winner’s spotlight are the women’s basketball squad, which currently holds the title of European champion, and the volleyball team which claimed the silver medal in Athens. The handball team representing Russia in Beijing will certainly provide competitors with a challenge, as they have shown their abilities by winning three world titles in a row between 2003 and 2007.

Whilst plenty of attention is being focused on Russia’s female athletes, great things are expected of their fellow countrymen and the Beijing Olympics will provide abundant opportunities for Russia’s male athletes to show their vigor and strength. Certainly the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympics is going to be filled with excitement – for participants and spectators alike.


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