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Kremlin Tells Russian Olympic Officials To Resign

Russian biathlete Yevgeny Ustyugovat won one of Russia's few gold medals.
MOSCOW (Reuters) -- President Dmitry Medvedev today called on Russian Olympic officials to resign over the country's poor showing at the winter games.

Russia posted its worst-ever performance at the Vancouver games, which ended on Februar 28, coming 11th in the medals table with just three golds.

"Those responsible should take the brave decision and sign a letter" of resignation, Medvedev said in televised comments. "If they can't we will help them."

At the Winter Olympics in 2006, Russian won 22 medals, including eight golds.

Opposition politicians have already called for the sports minister and the head of Russia's Olympic Committee to resign while Russian media commentators have expressed concern about how Russian athletes will perform in the 2014 Winter Olympics, due to be held in the Russian city of Sochi.

"For a long time we have benefitted from Soviet achievements, at some point they ran out. We have lost the Soviet sports school, it is simply gone, but we have not formed our own system," said Medvedev.

Before its 1991 collapse, the Soviet Union was always one of the best Olympic performers, when sport was used to promote the superpower's political prowess.