Winter Olympics 2018

Russia gives Olympic athletes a heroes' welcome home

2018-02-26 20:41
2018 Winter Olympics

Moscow - Russian fans on Monday gave gold medal- winning athletes a heroes' welcome home at a Moscow airport following games overshadowed by the country's doping scandal.

Russia's team competed as "Olympic Athletes from Russia" (OAR) and were unable to fly the national flag at the closing ceremony.

Two athletes competing in the games, curler Alexander Krushelnitsky, and women's bobsleigh pilot Nadezhda Sergeyeva, gave positive tests for doping and have been provisionally suspended.

Yet the mood was buoyant as fans feted athletes including the men's ice hockey team, which on Sunday won the country its first Olympic title for 26 years against Germany, and 15-year-old figure skating sensation Alina Zagitova, all decked in gold medals.

A crowd carrying flowers and balloons and chanting "Well done!" greeted the athletes as they arrived at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.

The head of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov thanked the athletes for making the decision to compete despite the obstacles, which he said their performance had ultimately swept away.

"Many had doubts about whether to go to these Olympics but I"m sure that now no one doubts that on Sunday the gold medal for hockey was won by the team from Russia, and no other," he said.

"Our athletes performed with Russia in their hearts," Zhukov said.

Russian ice hockey player Sergei Andronov, who played in the gold medal-winning side, gave a defiant speech, hugging his daughter.

"Thanks to our leadership for helping and allowing our team to play at the Olympics. We proved once again that you can't break our country. That only makes us stronger," said the player for Russia's CSKA.

Read more on:    2018 winter olympics


Read News24’s Comments Policy


Besides the 'Big 3' of rugby, cricket and soccer, which of the 'smaller' sports in South Africa do you enjoy the most?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.