President Putin decorated Russian Olympic athletes with orders of Friendship and medals of orders "For Merits for the Fatherland."
The award ceremony took place in the Moscow Kremlin. The Order of Friendship was awarded to figure skaters Alina Zagitova, the Olympic champion, and Evgeniya Medvedeva, who won the silver medal in Pyeongchang. "We won these medals for our homeland," Medvedeva said.
President Putin also decorated hockey players, who also received the Order of Friendship. "The Olympic Games, the historical Games for our country are over. We have defended the honour of our country thanks to the Russian temper, support and faith in our great Russia," hockey player Pavel Datsyuk said.
Hockey player Ilya Kovalchuk, when receiving the award, said that the goal of the athletes was "to return the flag and anthem." "A couple of hours ago we learned that the Russian Olympic Committee had been reinstated," he added.
Skier Yulia Belorukova was awarded the medal of the Order of Merit for the Fatherland of the 1st degree. She thanked the president on behalf of the team for the chance to perform at the Olympics.
"One can take away any symbols, but one cannot take away the temper. We were proud to watch you perform," Putin told the Olympians.
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