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Ovechkin says Russia’s ‘mission’ is Olympic gold

Jan 14, 2014, 5:08 PM EDT

PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 7: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on February 7, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) Getty Images

How important are the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi to Russian athletes like Alex Ovechkin?

The short answer is, extremely important.

Per the Associated Press, here’s the longer answer, courtesy Ovechkin: “Olympics are probably the most important thing for Russians than any other athletes in the whole world. And since I was a little kid and since everybody was a little kid, their dream was playing in Olympic games, especially if we have a chance to represent our country in Sochi in Russia, it’s unbelievable and it’s going to a great thing. That’s what I mean it’s a strength. I don’t think somebody (is) going to (think) their mission is done to be just on Olympic team. Our mission is to try to win gold medal.”

The last time the Russians won hockey gold at the Olympics was 1992, when they competed as the Unified Team following the break-up of the Soviet Union. That was before NHLers started competing in the Games, which first occurred in 1998.

In 2010, the Russians were dominated 7-3 in the quarterfinals by the host Canadians, who went on to win gold.

While it’s the Russians who will be on home ice in 2014 — and, clearly, Ovechkin believes that will give his country an advantage — there remain questions about the overall talent level of the roster.

Russia plays its first game of the tournament on Feb. 13 versus Slovenia.

Read: Ovechkin expresses sadness over Russian bombings ahead of Olympics

  1. tlow97 - Jan 14, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    I smell a Kerrigan-like incident(s).

  2. 950003cups - Jan 14, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    STOP THE PRESSES!! Wow!

    Someone penetrated the highest of echelons of the KGB!
    We’ve discovered their Olympic mission!

  3. penguins87and71 - Jan 14, 2014 at 6:36 PM

    Wow their goal is to win gold. Shocker. Who would have thought they would be trying to win gold.

    • Jason Brough - Jan 14, 2014 at 7:51 PM

      Maybe look beyond the headline.

  4. hockeyflow33 - Jan 14, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    I would think China would take that title. They still have sport-specific training for kids at a young age where kids are taken away from hoe and only focus on that sport.

  5. vanindeed - Jan 14, 2014 at 11:23 PM

    Russia is “mission” defence.

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