Just like everyone else in Russia, we couldn’t wait for the country's first medals and now they have arrived. We wanted to talk to those who are pulling the Russian national team up the chart of Olympic champions.  

It was actually the second day of competition that saw the first Russian medals. Russia took one gold, two silvers and a bronze.

The gold came from the figure skaters who wrote their names into history as winners of the first team tournament. Their performance was impeccable. Yulia Lipnitskaya was the star of the day. Despite being just 15, she showed unbelievable maturity and professionalism in her skating.

First medals for the Russian Team

Evgeny Plushenko

First medals for the Russian Team

Yulia Lipnitskaya

Gwendal Peizerat, the 2002 Olympic Champion, described her performance as “a Russian fairy tale where a young athlete turns into a princess”. Another hit on the ice was Evgeny Plushenko, who silenced those who doubted whether he should have been on the national team at all.

Russia's silvers came from luger Albert Demchenko and biathlete Olga Vilukhina. It's likely that Demchenko will retire from sport after the Games, and he was determined  to finish strongly. Well, the 42 year old athlete has managed that already, and still has a medal opportunity in the upcoming team relay where his experience and strength could be key.

First medals for the Russian Team

Albert Demchenko

By the way, Albert promised to share his future plans straight after the Games. When you consider that Mexican 'Mariachi' Prince Hubertus of Hohenlohe-Langenburg is 55 years old, Demchenko could still have at least 3 Olympics left in him.

The silver from Vilukhina was a surprise. Well, of course we always want more medals in biathlon, but there were some doubts this time. But, after a perfect showing on the shooting ranges, she only lost out to Anton Shipulin’s sister Anastasia Kuzmina, who was representing the national team of Slovakia. Of course, we can only regret that Anastasia changed her citizenship.

First medals for the Russian Team

Olga Vilukhina

The bronze was a surprise too: speedskater Olga Graf won it with a national and personal record over a distance of 3000 metres. Unbelievable self-control and the support of the crowd helped her get the prize. Russia has not won medals in this sport for a long 20 years.

First medals for the Russian Team

Olga Graf

© M Smelter

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