Road to Redemption

John MacDougall / AFP / Getty Images

Alexander Tretiakov competes in the men's skeleton at the Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Cup in Germany.

Four years ago, when the last winter olympics came to an end, Russia's state news agency RIA Novosti captured the nation's feelings about Team Russia's medal haul with a headline: nightmare in vancouver. Never in its history had the Russian team (or, for that matter, the Soviet one) performed as atrociously at the Winter Games. Viacheslav Fetisov, the Russian hockey legend who served as the Kremlin's top sports official leading up to those Games, remembers Vancouver as a "total collapse" — and a hard lesson. "We learned a lot," he says. "And now we have a chance at redemption...

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