Olympics: Russia says Games "broke the ice", hosts lead medals table
SOCHI, Russia (REUTERS) - Russia leapt to the top of the medals table on Saturday with two more golds as the Sochi Olympics entered the final stretch, and the host nation said its first Winter Games had helped "break the ice" of scepticism towards it.
Organisers were confident they had achieved what they, and President Vladimir Putin, had set out to do - project Russia as a modern, tolerant country that had thrown off the shackles of its Soviet past.
The icing on the cake was home gold in the men's snowboard parallel slalom and men' biathlon relay, lifting Russia above Norway in the rankings with just three more titles to be decided on Sunday, the final day.
"The friendly faces, the warm Sochi sun and the glare of the Olympic gold have broken the ice of scepticism towards the new Russia," said Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, also Mr Putin's Olympics organiser.