Let’s get on the subject of the upcoming winter Olympic games in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi. The country's Olympic committee president Aleksandr Zhukov has announced the medal plans for the national team at the home Games, where nothing but a first overall place would satisfy the fans and management.
That's right, Aleskandr Zhukov said that Russia will be aiming to win at least 15 gold medals at the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, which should be enough to finish at the top of the medal table.
According to the Russian Olympic committee president, the current positive dynamics in winter sports allow the country to hope for at least 40 to 45 medals in total with 14 to 15 of them being of the highest value. But the final target will be set in the spring after the winter season concludes.
However, despite the fact that Russians are traditionally strong in winter sports they haven't managed to impress their fans at the most recent winter games in Vancouver. Their performance in 2010 was called by many a failure.
Yes, and that's not a surprise because the Russian Olympians only managed to claim 3 gold medals and that result earned them the lowest place in the history of the winter Olympics after they finished in 11th overall place in the medal table.
Mind you, Russia's plans for fifteen gold medals in Sochi are quite ambitious, because if we take a look at the Vancouver games again... Canada, who won their home Olympics, only managed to claim 14 golds. So hopefully, the Russian Olympic Committee knows what they are talking about and the athletes will be able to fulfill the promise of their management.
Russians in the NHL
Lets switch to ice hockey now and talk about Russian players in the NHL. And let’s discuss those who are being more then instrumental for their respective teams in North America.
Ok. Let’s start in Canada and over to Edmonton which is a home to Russia's junior world champion Nail Yakupov. In his debut season for the Oilers, this youngster already scored three goals in five games.
Hopefully he will be able to continue his fine run and eventually reach greatness like Aleksandr Ovechkin or Evgeny Malkin to name just a couple of Russian players in the NHL.
And speaking of Evgeny Malkin, well his team Pittsburgh Penguins are struggling at the moment... despite the fact that the Russian continues to add at least a point in each of his team's matches. Malkin himself said in one of his interviews that he yet to reach peak form this season.
Well, let’s wish him the best in achieving that, meanwhile let’s get back to another NHL debutant and that's Vladimir Tarasenko, who plays for the St. Louis Blues. In his 5 opening matches he managed to add eight points to his tally, making him one of the most successful Russians this season in the NHL.
Yes and hopefully it’s not just beginners luck and he will continue impressing the fans in America by displaying the same will and character on the ice for the Blues. And now let’s mention those Russians who have already made a name for themselves on both sides of the Atlantic.
Ok, over to Sergey Gonchar now who plays for the Ottawa Senators. The defender began the season on a high note, helping his side across the rink. His result now stands at four points but his improved play in the defense is certainly a crowd pleaser, and great help to the goaltender as well.
On to Ilya Kovalchuk now, the star of the Russian national team and the New Jersey Devils. The player gets the most ice time in his team and added three goals since the star of the season. So Kovi is slowly but surely getting up to speed and is one of the leaders in New Jersey.
And finally, over to the most Russian American city of Detroit, which has been and is still is a home to many Russian ice hockey stars. Pavel Datsuk has just scored his 1000th career point for the Devils and looks like that record will be greatly improved this season.
Yes, the Russian superstar is one of the most stable players as he continues scoring and assisting his teammates in almost every single match. I have to say that Datsuk also remains one of the biggest hopes in helping Russia win gold at the upcoming winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
Yesterday our program was dedicated to the athlete who left the national Ukrainian team to compete for Russia. Nikolai Kuksenkov will soon represent Russia at the biggest artistic gymnastics starts. And today we will talk about Russian biathlete who has made up his mind to defend Ukrainian colors.
That's true, on Wednesday it has been officially confirmed that one of the most promising juniors Dmitriy Rusinov will change his citizenship and will perform for te national team of Ukraine.
Several weeks ago Rusinov took victory in sprint and won bronze in pursuit at the Russian Cup in Izhevsk making it to the national team not only for the European championship but also for the world meeting in the Czech Republic. Undoubtedly his chances to fight for awards at the upcoming worlds were miserable, as the athlete has not yet cemented a place on the team, nevertheless Rusinov was included into extended roster for the main start of the year and this means that national coaches see hopes in this talented shooting skier.
But as we have already said Dmitriy Rusinov is not willing to compete for the country where he was born. This is what he had to say about his sudden decision to perform for Ukraine.
" I'm not afraid of the tough competition inside the Russian men's squad just I couldn't stand this attitude anymore . This year I have to pay for everything, Russian Cup in Izhevsk was the only competition where I was financed by the Moscow biathlon Union. I buy biathlon equipment with my money, if I want to compete anywhere again I need to spend my own money. I hoped the situation would change for the better but since summer no positive tendency has been observed. It's enough, I am fed up with this"
So the lack of financing is obviously the main reason for Rusinov's decision to change his citizenship, hopefully this situation will not occur again and talented athletes will not run from Russia.
The 2103 world championship will start on the 7th of February in Nove Mesto (Czech Republic)
Russian coaches have finalized the country's roster for the upcoming world meeting.
Women’s squad - Olga Zaitseva, Olga Vilukhina, Ekaterina Glazyrina, Ekaterina Shumilova, Ekaterina Urlova, Svetlana Sleptsova, Irina Starykh, Olga Podchufarova.
Olga Podchufarova is a new name in the Russian team, she was included into list of the world championship participants because of her excellent results displayed the junior world meeting.
Men- Evgeniy Ustugov, Anton Shipulin, Dmitriy Malyshko, Evgeniy Garanichev, Andrey Makoveev, Alexei Volkov, Alexander Pechenkin.
The world championship in Nove Mesto will be opened with a mixed relay which will be held on February the 7th .