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LuigiVercotti

Russia Beginning It's Sochi 'Own The Podium' Campaign

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Spending Skyrockets for Russian Sports Development

Russia is taking its sporting development seriously ahead of Sochi 2014.

Vladimir Putin said Russia has some catching up to do in terms of sporting participation among the general public. (Getty Images)

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Monday the country will spend $1.3 billion in this aptly dubbed “Year of Sports” and a total of $3 billion over the next three years.

"Currently some 25 million people regularly go to gyms and stadiums in our country," he was quoted by Russian media.

"In line with our plans, this number must exceed 42 million by 2015 and in the longer term we need to reach the levels already achieved by many European countries, where some 70 percent of the population is regularly engaged in sporting activity."

Putin also said sports medicine must be made a priority and announced a dramatic budget increase from last year’s $4.3 million to $83.4 million for 2011, Ria Novosti reported.

“Each athlete on the Russian national team training for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi must have their own personal medical program," he said at a session focused on Russian sport development.

Also Monday, sports minister Vitaly Mutko announced an increase in the salaries of athletes on the Russian national team.

"We have secured support from the budget and an average salary will be increased to around 80,000 rubles [$2,770]," he said in reference to a monthly salary roughly five times the current average of between 12,000 and 20,000 rubles ($400-670).

Russia is trying to rebound from a disappointing performance at the 2010 Winter Games. Its athletes won 15 total medals in Vancouver but only three gold, good enough for sixth in the overall medal table.

The increase in sports medicine funding (almost 20 times as much from last year to this year) is staggering. Looks like the Russians won't be underprepared when the OWGs hit Sochi's shores 3 years from now.

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Yea they will. The foundations of what is to come in Sochi were laid long ago. Canada and China's programs were 7 years and longer whereas with 3 years there is little you can do but get the athletes you already have to the gate.

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Cathy Priestner Allinger has been consulting with the Russians on this...

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