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Russia to pay bonuses to its Olympic medalists

AP - Sports

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia will pay hefty bonuses to athletes who win medals at the Winter Olympics on home soil in Sochi.

A decree posted on the government's website says Russia will pay 4 million rubles ($122,000) to Russian gold medalists, $76,000 to silver medalists and $46,000 to bronze winners.

Russia first introduced bonuses for medal winners in the 1990s when individual athletes and entire sports federations were surviving on paltry state subsidies.

Four years ago in Vancouver, Russia recorded its worst ever performance at a Winter Games, winning only 15 medals and finishing 11th in the table.

Medals in Sochi will be a matter of national pride for Russia and President Vladimir Putin, who is directly involved in overseeing preparations for the games.

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