"If we put it straight, there has been no such event in the
contemporary history of our country which would so much consolidate
our nation, our people," Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told
athletes at the handover ceremony held near the Kremlin.
"You gave us this feeling of pride, you didn't do it on an ordinary
day, but rather when the Olympic Games were held in our country."
Russia won 13 gold, 11 silver and nine bronze medals at the Games,
which ended on Sunday. President Vladimir Putin staked his political
reputation to hold a successful Games aimed to show the world the
modern face of Russia and boost patriotic sentiment.
Last week the Kremlin chief handed state awards to the athletes in
Sochi saying that they have "accomplished the mission" assigned to
The cars were provided by Russia's Olympic athletes support fund, an
entity chaired by Medvedev which has senior officials and
billionaires on its supervisory board.
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Russian Winter Olympics winners in Turin got Toyota and Lexus cars
in 2006 and Audi vehicles after the Games in Vancouver in 2010.
The Sochi Games won praise from International Olympic Committee
officials and there were no major security incidents, despite fears
following suicide bombings in southern Russia in December blamed on
insurgents based in the adjacent North Caucasus restive region.
(Reporting By Alexei Anishchuk; Editing by Justin Palmer)
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