The national team has always been pompously sent away, with President of Russian Federation addressing the team and other dignitaries presiding over a special reception in Kremlin. All this pomp is done with the hope of proper medal count which is to confirm the country’s status as a super-nation.
Obviously, it was once so – a super-nation and its super athletes, astonishing sports achievements and Olympic records. As for Vancouver, or, at least, the first week of the Games proved quite the opposite as Russian lost everywhere they were not supposed to – to the thorough dismay and dissatisfaction of the winter sports-loving nation left behind.
It did not seem to have helped that this year, before its departure to Vancouver, the Russian Olympic team was received by the Patriarch who invited the athletes to the majestic Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow and blessed them with the miracle-working icon of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. The icon has supposedly arrived to Vancouver with the team to heal, bless and make miracles, of course.
Some Russian specialists blame the current Olympic failures at the crash of sports’ infrastructure during the painful 90s, when most of sports schools were closed, had no resources to hire talented trainers or keep up with innovations. However, Russians are known for their strong fighting spirit, plus, who would dare to imagine similar hope-crushing start at the next Olympic Games which will be home Games for them (Sochi, a resort town on Black Sea, is host to winter Olympics-2014)! Besides, what other national team has St. Nicholas as intercessor, so miracles can still happen, any day!