Winning Olympic dreams

Eight-time world champion Larisa Ilchenko took gold in the inaugural 10km open water swimming marathon

Eight-time world champion Larisa Ilchenko took gold in the inaugural 10km open water swimming marathon

After 16 days, Russia's athletes are back home after finishing third in the Olympic rankings. There were triumphs and disappointments. Number one China has most reason to celebrate, with 51 golds in an overall tally of 100.
We had a slow start to the competition and managed to improve only at the end of the Games. "The main difficulty was psychological, not physical," said Anastasia Ermakova of the winning Russian synchronised swimming team. "We had to work even more than we did before the previous Olympics, because expectations were higher."

Twenty-three golds and a total of 72 medals would be a decent result for many countries. However, the Russian team's performances at the previous two games were better. But the Russian Olympic Committee regards the outcome as a success, as the goal of finishing third overall was reached. Igor Kazikov of the Russian Olympic Committee noted that with each Olympics it takes more effort to win: "I believe this result is high. The US also won fewer medals than before. It proves a world trend - that it's getting harder to win medals."

Our stars included:

Women's tennis: the top three medals. Archery: the first-ever bronze for Russia (including during Soviet times). Women's relay (4x100 metres): the US, Jamaica and several African countries have long been used to taking the gold, but this year it went to Russia. Mountain biking: Irina Kalentyeva finished the race on a damaged bike to finish third (the first medal in this event for Russia). And of course there was Larisa...We had a slow start to the competition and managed to improve only at the end of the Games. "The main difficulty was psychological, not physical," said Anastasia Ermakova of the winning Russian synchronised swimming team. "We had to work even more than we did before the previous Olympics, because expectations were higher."

Twenty-three golds and a total of 72 medals would be a decent result for many countries. However, the Russian team's performances at the previous two games were better. But the Russian Olympic Committee regards the outcome as a success, as the goal of finishing third overall was reached. Igor Kazikov of the Russian Olympic Committee noted that with each Olympics it takes more effort to win: "I believe this result is high. The US also won fewer medals than before. It proves a world trend - that it's getting harder to win medals."

Our stars included:

Women's tennis: the top three medals. Archery: the first-ever bronze for Russia (including during Soviet times). Women's relay (4x100 metres): the US, Jamaica and several African countries have long been used to taking the gold, but this year it went to Russia. Mountain biking: Irina Kalentyeva finished the race on a damaged bike to finish third (the first medal in this event for Russia). And of course there was Larisa... -

Eight-time world champion Larisa Ilchenko took gold in the inaugural 10km open water swimming marathon

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