Russia intends to have 215 athletes on its national team when it hosts the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, the country's sports minister said on Wednesday.
"We hope that 215 of our athletes will compete in 86 different competitions during the Olympics in Sochi," Vitaly Mutko said.
The Russian national team consisted of 177 athletes at the 2010 Olympics in Canada and of 178 athletes at the 2006 Winter Games in Italy.
Mutko said that in the next four years, Russia needs to preserve its stable positions in such sports as Biathlon, Cross Country, Figure Skating and Speed Skating and improve in "problematic sports."
"We must increase our abilities in sports, where we are obviously falling behind - Freestyle, Short Track, Snowboard, Curling, Ski Jump and Nordic Combined," he said.
The Russian team finished this year's games with its worst Winter Olympic medal tally in history and there is intense pressure on officials and athletes to ensure that a similar situation is avoided at the 2014 Games in Sochi.
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 resign from their posts.
Russia's Olympic Committee head Leonid Tyagachyov followed the president's advice and turned in his resignation two days after Medvedev's statement. Mutko resisted heavy pressure to resign on the grounds that Russian skiers "won't race quicker if someone is fired."
MOSCOW, June 23 (RIA Novosti)