We may need a new stereotype for Russians.
According to the Russian newspaper Kommersant, the Kremlin has decided to ban alcohol at all London Olympic events that in any way involve Russian athletes and/or officials. The pronouncement apparently comes in large part due to the country’s somewhat unremarkable showing at the 2010 Vancouver games, when it came away with just 3 gold and 15 overall medals.
As noted by USA Today:
Russia's Olympic team faces increased scrutiny as the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi draws near. Russian officials will use the London Games as a coming-out party to introduce the world to its crown jewel on the Black Sea.
The BBC reported in January that Russia 2014 will promote the Games with a "Sochi World" at Marble Arch in London that will feature a public ice rink.
Although some are understandably questioning the legitimacy of this newfound Russian approach to life (according to a 2009 Public Chamber of Russia report, there are 500,000 alcohol-related deaths per year), the powers that be seem serious.
“Olympic values are not compatible with the consumption of alcohol,” a spokesman for Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, the guy in charge of overseeing the delegation, told Kommersant.
Regardless of how they ultimately fare in London, if the Russians actually manage to stay sober throughout the entire Olympics, that’ll be a pretty historical achievement in itself.