Question: Mr President, the Olympics are in full swing, the most exciting events are about to take place, and the President leaves Sochi. Have you lost interest?
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Of course not.
My main objective was to implement this project, to create a year-round world-class modern resort in the south of Russia. The project has been completed with success.
My task was to organise a celebration for people, primarily for sports fans and for the whole country. I think this is happening as well.
Meanwhile, I have other work to do, just like most of my colleagues. It is of course very nice to be in Sochi — I am sure you have seen it for yourselves. The festive atmosphere captures you, but we have to return to our jobs. So, like most of our people, I will have to follow the Games on TV.
I attend the Olympics when I have to for protocol reasons, or when I have the time. I am sure everyone who comes to Sochi and experiences this celebration of sports and the Olympics must feel happy with what they see, what they experience. This concerns both Russian and foreign fans.
Question: Mr President, another question on a different subject. Can’t stay away from the Olympics.
Vladimir Putin: Do you like it?
Question: I do, without any doubt.
Vladimir Putin: I have said several times that I am especially happy about our fans and the volunteers. We should be very proud of them because they are the ones who have created this unique atmosphere for national and foreign athletes, for the fans from all over the world.
Question: I have a question regarding our men’s ice hockey team. We were all disappointed, especially after the match with the Americans. As a fan, what do you think of our team and of that particular game?
Vladimir Putin: You know, disappointment comes from excessive expectations. This is a general rule in life. As for the Olympics: everyone knows that there can’t be any weak players at the Olympic Games, and this is true for all sports, including ice hockey.
Even the teams that are considered outsiders can do miracles and perform in a way nobody ever expected them to. Besides, our athletes have a huge responsibility. This is a heavy burden, but I am convinced that our ice hockey team is not just one of the best; I think it is the best team of the tournament.
I had the opportunity to watch our team and our potential competitors play both live and on TV. We have a very balanced, talented, exciting team capable of the highest achievements. I hope this is what will happen. However, we should not forget that sports is not only about athletes’ skill and courage, but also about luck.
I spoke to one of the players on our team, and I said they have not been very lucky so far: so many shots, but not too many goals scored, even when it looked like a goal. In reply he said, quite rightly, that eventually we will get lucky. We may not be lucky now, but we believe that we will be when it really matters.
Together with him and with all our fans I count on this, as much as I have confidence in our team’s courage and skill. I am very optimistic — I can see they are doing their best, regardless of what some people may say. They display talent and courage on the ice, regardless of problems or injuries. And as for luck – I am sure it will come too.
Question: Who did you talk to?
Vladimir Putin: It’s a secret. I won’t tell you yet. It’s our little secret.
Question: When you were watching the game between Russia and the USA, did you get the impression that the Americans moved the gate?
Vladimir Putin: I believe all our fans thought so.
Vladimir Putin: I can’t say what really happened. In any case it is a shame the judges did not notice this earlier, because it is always better for one of the teams to play when the gate has been moved – for the team whose gate was moved, of course, especially as long as the judge does not see it.
Then if the opposite team scores a goal, it can always be disputed, and if there is no goal, you can always count on a successful counterattack. However, even judges make mistakes, so I would not go around labelling anyone. I simply believe that we will always win with a good lead.
Yes, and we have another gold medal – in bobsleigh. Our congratulations to the athletes!