Before the meeting, Vladimir Putin awarded state decorations to the gold medallists of the Olympics in Tokyo.
The Russian team ranked fifth in the medal count with 71 medals in all, including 20 gold, 28 silver and 23 bronze medals.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,
I would like to once again wholeheartedly congratulate the medallists of the Tokyo Olympics.
I would also like to express our deepest gratitude to your coaches and mentors, who helped you on this long and difficult path towards Olympic heights, as well as to your families, which your teammates mentioned during the awards ceremony, your loved ones whose support helped you press on towards the most important goal for any athlete – the Olympic podium.
For some of you it was not the first Olympics and not the first Olympic victories, but there is no doubt that the joy of victory was as great for them as for the first-time gold winners.
I am confident that every one of her seven gold Olympic medals is equally unique and important for Svetlana Romashina, the most titled athlete in the global history of synchronised swimming. She won two of them in Tokyo, one in the duet routine with the magnificent Svetlana Kolesnichenko, and the other as a member of our incomparable synchronised swimming team. They have been absolutely superior to their rivals for years, which we see as an unmatched success for the Russian school of synchronised swimming.
As usual, our wrestling team has moved to the top this time again. Its golden march in this sport has continued uninterrupted for nearly 70 years, since 1952. This time our wrestlers have taken eight medals, four of them gold.
You have won eight medals in the shooting events. One of the winners is Vitalina Batsarashkina, who claimed the first gold medal for our team in Tokyo. She surged purposefully ahead of her famed rivals, rising to the top of the podium twice and set a record by winning three medals at the Olympic Games. Well done!
Such achievements have always been the centrepiece of the Olympic Games, adding attraction and excitement to them and proving that human abilities and strength of will are truly infinite.
Our track and field athletes demonstrated their unmistakable sporting character. Overcoming all the obstacles, Maria Lasitskene has literally jumped to the top of the Olympic podium. She and her teammate, Anzhelika Sidorova, have proved convincingly that track and field is regarded as the queen of sports largely thanks to Russian athletes.
Fans held their breath as they watched the fencing events, especially when Marta Martyanova joined the fight despite her injury, which she has told me about just now. We admire mutual support and the fighting spirit of our brilliant women’s fencing team and their new team victory. Our girls have done it again!
Our special thanks go to Sofia Pozdnyakova, who has stormed into the group of the world’s biggest sabre stars. She has won two gold medals during her first Olympics. This is what being a member of a sports family means: you may know that her father is a famous four-time Olympic champion.
Our fans enjoyed the extremely emotional performance of our gymnasts and rejoiced as they finally reclaimed their status of the best of the best. Moreover, both the men’s and the women’s teams have made it to the top of the podium. Their comeback victories have definitely become part of the global history of sports.
Our swimmers have moved forward in the efforts to regain the status of the best, especially thanks to Yevgeny Rylov. His surge towards the leading position and his two gold medals are a brilliant proof of our national team’s huge potential.
Our belief in the future of the Russian national team has been reinforced with Olympic medals we won in archery, beach volleyball, a new Olympic sport – 3x3 basketball, as well as taekwondo, where Russian athletes have not just won their first Olympic medals but also the team gold. As you know, one of the athletes was performing with a broken arm – he is a true hero and a real trooper. We are deeply grateful to him.
Another of your valuable achievements is the first team gold in tennis mixed doubles, which ended with an inspiring gift of an all-Russian final event.
We will all remember the traditionally thrilling fights of the Russian boxers. Our athletes have been posting excellent results in this sport over the past years. I believe that the foundation laid here as well as the legendary traditions of the Russian boxing school will ensure future victories.
The Russian rhythmic gymnastics team evoked sincere admiration.
Our dear girls, you are always the very best and the first, our solid gold for the entire country.
I would like to reach out to the silver and bronze medallists. A stop one or two steps away from the top of the Olympic podium always brings about complicated emotions: the gold seemed so very close yet something went wrong, something failed. However, this is exactly what makes an athlete stronger, tempers their character and projects them to a new level of mastery unattainable by their rivals.
The glorious and triumphant history of many generations of our outstanding athletes proves that nothing is impossible. The key is to work hard and always believe in yourself. Hard work, talent and self-belief, confidence in your country, which stands behind you – I know that all too well.
It will not be a long wait until new competitions. In just a few months your comrades – the Russian winter Olympic team – will walk onto the arenas of the Beijing Winter Olympics, and in less than three years many of you will face off your rivals in Paris, where you and your comrades, the young generation of Russian athletes, will confidently reassert your standing – I have no doubt about that – with your victories in a fair, honest and uncompromising fight.
As you may know, yesterday my colleagues and I discussed the results of the Tokyo Olympics and plans for the future at a meeting of the Council for Sport. We will continue helping you and create the best conditions for training, including through the efforts of the Foundation for the Support of Russian Olympians. Many years of its truly selfless work have made a huge contribution to the progress of Russian high-performance sport.
I would like to specially note that each medal you won at the XXXII Summer Olympics carries with it a big personal and human story, a long and dedicated road to the sports summit, and you have traversed it in a truly dignified manner.
Your examples have a colossal inspirational potential, they prove the value of physical culture and sport, fill young people with a desire to follow in your footsteps and opt for an active and healthy lifestyle.
Thank you for your efforts and for your loyalty to the ideals of the Olympic movement. I congratulate you on outstanding achievements and well-deserved awards and, of course, wish you new successes and amazing victories and records for the glory of Russia.
Thank you very much.
(The national anthem of Russia is played.)