Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Russian athletes, the winners of the XXII Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. Putin noted that the Olympics introduced the new and open Russia to the world. During the award ceremony, Putin stressed out that Russian athletes defended the honor of his country.
"The Olympic Games mean a lot more than international competitions. Here, one competes for the title of the best sports nation. Being one of the leaders is a matter of national prestige," Putin said.
Putin stressed that Russian athletes defended the honor of their country. "Of course, our athletes deserve not only sports, but also state awards," the president said.
Champions and winners of the Sochi Games were awarded with the Order Of Merit for the Fatherland of various degrees, as well as the Order of Honor and the Order of Friendship.
"On behalf of millions of fans, on behalf of Russian citizens, I want to thank all those who have done all they could for these Olympics, who, in spite of everything, struggled with themselves, pursued their goal and won medals. I want to thank those, who struggled even when the situation seemed hopeless, inspiring us all with their energy and enthusiasm."
"The Games in Sochi were to present to the world the new, multifaceted and open Russia. One had to present not only modern sports facilities and infrastructure, but most importantly - national sports elite, those who bears the banner of glorious, great traditions," Putin said.
Putin also expressed the hope that international competitions would be held in Sochi after the Olympics.
"We have proved that we can be very good-natured, hospitable hosts. Everything that athletes, professionals, coaches, journalists need - we tried to have everything ready, so that they all could compete and work comfortably compete, that sports fans around the world could enjoy a such a grand celebration of sport," Putin said.