Russia did not finish behind Britain in the London 2012 medals table because of political pressure, as the country’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko claimed, the country’s leading Olympic official has admitted. Russia failed to finish in the top three of the overall Olympics medals table for the first time since they started competing under their own flag again at Atlanta in 1996, despite winning more medals than the hosts.
Russia won a total of 82 medals compared to Britain’s 65 but Team GB finished above them because they won more gold medals, 29 to 24.
At the end of the Games, Mutko, had accused Britain of using political clout to win so many gold medals. “The Brits are just as [bad] as [the Chinese] in Beijing [in 2008],” Mutko said. “Here in London everyone wants the British to win. They have a very strong political support.”
Mutko was particularly critical of the judging in boxing, where British fighters won three gold medals compared to Russia’s one.
But Alexander Zhukov, the President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), dismissed Mutko’s complaints.
“I can say that there was no egregious judging,” said the former Russian Deputy Prime Minister upon the team’s return to Moscow. “The hosts always have an advantage. That’s both due to the support in the hall and other factors.”
Russia’s medal haul was actually bigger than Beijing four years ago when they pipped Britain to third with a total of 73 medals, 23 of them gold.
“The gold medals trophy was what we had been expecting and the overall list of medal wins was even bigger than planned,” Zhukov said.
The highlight for the Russian team was the victory in the judo of Tagir Khaibulaev, who won the 100 kilogram final at ExCeL as Russian President Vladimir Putin watched.
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org. Inside the Games is a blog of the British Olympic Association. This article is re-printed here with permission of the editors of the blog.