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© RIA Novosti. Mihail Mokrushin

As Olympics loom, a space-age boost for Russian sliders

by RIA Novosti at 22/10/2013 15:18

Scientists from the Russian space agency have been drafted in to improve the performance of the country's bobsled and luge teams with less than four months to go until the Sochi Olympics, a leading sports official said Tuesday.

In the latest example of Russia's government lavishing resources on athletes to chase medals at the country's first home Winter Olympics, the Roskosmos agency will provide space-age materials and aerodynamic expertise.

The tie-up between the Russian Sliding Sport Federation and Roskosmos means the space agency "will take a patronage role on our technical side" and provide "space technologies" to increase Russian sliders' speed, said Igor Sheshukov, executive director, in a website statement.

"It means the creation of special alloys, metal processing, aerodynamics, spraying, sharpening [sledge runners], painting and much more," Sheshukov said.

He added that Roskosmos scientists had already visited the Olympic track at the Sanki Sliding Center near Sochi to see how the Russian national team worked.

Russian governmental support for athletes was highlighted earlier this month when a specialized state medical airplane was dispatched to Munich to transport injured figure skater Alexander Smirnov for knee surgery.

The Sochi Olympics will run from February 7 to 23.

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