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75 percent of Russians will watch Turin Olympics
75 percent of Russians will watch Turin Olympics, which is a six percent growth compared to the Winter Games in the United States four years ago, according to a poll by the Public Opinion Fund. Twenty-two percent of over 2000 respondents in 100 towns and settlements polled in early February said they are not interested in the Olympic Games at all. Russians are mostly interested in figure skating (46 percent), ice hockey (34 percent), cross-country skiing (31 percent), and biathlon. Every sixth respondent is interested in Alpine skiing. Only one percent of the polled said they would watch such exotic sports for Russia, as curling, skeleton, and short-track. An 84-percent majority is convinced the Russian team will perform successfully in Turin, while 46 percent said the Russians will top the medal list. 70 percent pin their medal hopes on figure skating, a third – on skiing and biathlon, and every fourth respondent – on ice hockey. “Even in Alpine skiing, where the Russians seem to have no medal chance, six percent of the respondents hope for success”, the Fund said. Athletes will compete for 84 medal sets in 15 sports at the Turin Olympics, which begin on Friday and close on February 26. Russian Olympic Committee Vice President Vladimir Vasin believes the national team may hope for 25 medals, including six gold ones. However, the favorites, according to him, are the Germans with expected 14 golds, the Norwegians with 11, the Canadians with 10, and the United States with nine gold medals. He agreed with the respondents that most Russian medals will be won in skiing, biathlon, and figure skating. In ice-hockey it would be difficult to win gold, as there are 19 NHL players in the team who will have “to play at sight”.
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