Vladimir Putin sent a message of greeting to the members of the Russian Olympic team, reported the Kremlin's press-service.
"One the eve of the opening of the 28th Olympic Games, I am conveying to you on behalf of all Russians the wishes of successful starts and outstanding results," the message says, in particular.
Russia believes in you and hopes for your triumph, noted the president. "I wish you good luck, persistence and impressive victories", the message says.
"Our athletes have always been worth of the Olympic behests, marching in the vanguard of world sports. They have more than once amazed the world by their brilliant performances and outstanding records and millions of our citizens felt a sincere pride for their country at such moments. We hope very much that you - the leaders of Russian sports - will carry on these victorious traditions", says the message.
"Russian fans expect their idols to rise on the highest rungs of the Olympic pedestal and multiply the sport glory of the Fatherland," notes the document.
Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexy II also sent a message of greeting to the athletes.
In his message, the Patriarch wished them great strength, courage, patience and new victories and expressed the hope that "our athletes will gladden us with outstanding results".
An official ceremony of seeing off the Russian national team to the Olympic Games in Athens was held on Thursday on Moscow's Poklonnaya Hill (where the memorial in honor of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 is situated).
In his speech, Alexander Zhukov, Russian vice-premier, said that he hoped for the first or the second place in team classification for the Russian national team.
"The team is strong and has good chances to wrest for the victory," Zhukov told the press at the end of the seeing-off ceremony.
Moscow vice-mayor Valery Shantsev expressed the hope that the victories of Russian athletes in Athens would make their contribution to the struggle of the Russian capital for the right to host the 2012 Olympic Games. Shantsev wished the members of the Russian Olympic team successes in the Olympic Games.
Galina Gorokhova, a three-time Olympic fencing champion and veteran of the Russian Olympic movement, noted that over 600 Olympic champions live in Russia. She asked the present-day members of the Olympic team "to join their glorious ranks".
A total of 473 Russian athletes will compete in Athens, Gennady Shvets, head of the press-service of the Russian Olympic Committee, told RIA Novosti. Some of them are already in Athens.
In the last Olympic Games in Sydney, Russian athletes won 88 medals: 32 gold and 28 silver and bronze. In unofficial team classification, they took second place after the USA.
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