Fourth-Place Medal

Russia says ‘nyet’ to vodka at London Olympics

Chris Chase
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A Russian gathering without vodka is like a pool party without a pool. But that's how it'll be at the upcoming Summer Games thanks to new restrictions from the nation's Olympic committee.

In response to a poor Russian team performance at the Vancouver Olympics, national officials have banned vodka and wine from all events at four Russian hospitality houses in London. The news was reported by the Russian daily, Kommersant.

Russia entered the 2010 Games with the expectation of winning 50 medals but ended with only 15. Whatever the issue behind the slide, booze was the scapegoat.

The parties in Vancouver were known for a raucous atmosphere that featured loud music and free-flowing alcohol. One attendee, quoted by Kommersant, said it was such a strange scene that they were confused about being at an Olympic party. It was only natural that Russia would attempt a teetotaling Games after that.

Not everyone agrees with that choice. "Of course, this is only a political decision, linked only in order to avoid further attacks by the press, by those who still find a reason why we lost," said former silver medalist Ilia Averbukh, who clearly followed the 2011 Boston Red Sox season from afar. "If [the team's poor medal performance] was because of some kind of alcohol, it always occurred only after the competition."

Thanks, Wall Street Journal

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