President Putin told athletes at the Planernaya training centre that Russia viewed the winter Olympics as its top priority.
The Russian leader said the impressive achievements of athletes consolidated the nation and enhanced its feeling of self-esteem. Mr Putin expressed confidence that the Olympic select team would try hard and attain the good results which are expected by its fans.
Vladimir Putin advocated the consistent development of sports in Russia and said that the sports infrastructure had to be restored. He said Russia had few sports and Olympic facilities after the break-up of the USSR and regretted the fact that the national speed skating championship had been held in Berlin.
In all, 166 Russian athletes will compete in 15 sport events at the upcoming Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.