Gazprom backs ROC

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The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) has signed $130m contract with national energy giant Gazprom to help get the country's athletes ready for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

" The money is allocated for special purpose programs as a supplement to other financial means provided by the state via the sports ministry and the Russian sports training center, " Alexander Zhukov was quoted as saying on the ROC website. He added that a similar sum and for the same purpose was allocated by Canada for its national team at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, where the hosts finished first in medals standings. After the 2010 Games, when Russia won just three golds and finished 11th in the medal table, president Dmitry Medvedev urged senior sports officials responsible for the failure to " make a courageous decision" and leave their posts. To avoid another failure at the home Sochi Games the Russian Olympic Committee invited three leading sports experts to devise a programme to improve the Russian Olympic team's performance.

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