The performance of the Russian biathletes in the women's 10 km pursuit on Tuesday gives hope for a medal in the biathlon relay, sports minister Vitaly Mutko said.
"You all saw it. This is a real result. The girls have shown in their times and shooting that they are now ready. We believe that we have a good chance in the relay," Mutko told RIA Novosti.
Russia's best finisher, Anna Bulygina, came sixth, but all four competitors were in the top 20, an overall performance bettered only by Germany.
Olga Zaitseva came seventh, Svetlana Sleptsova 18th and Olga Medvedtseva 20th. The pursuit gold was won by Germany's Magdalena Neuner, with Slovakia's Anastasia Kuzmina grabbing the silver, Marie Laure Brunet of France the bronze.
Neuner's compatriots came 10th, 12th and 16th.
Russia has had a disappointing Games so far, with just one bronze after three days of competition, but the minister said that "in general, the psychological state of the team is fine."
"Everyone is ready for action," Mutko declared.
WHISTLER, February 16 (RIA Novosti)