SOCHI, RUSSIA - Fifty billion dollars ... No, that’s not Dr. Evil talking.
That’s the cost of winning the gold medal, according to Alexander Ovechkin, who knows a little bit about money.
And that’s the kind of pressure Ovechkin and the Russian hockey team are under — Vladmir Putin’s $50 billion — as the Olympic hockey tournament gets set to begin on Thursday.
The 50 billion figure may be hyperbole by Ovechkin, but what it tells is the kind of importance the Russians are placing on winning gold in hockey here.
Pulling out all the stops, they admitted Monday that the majority of their hockey players will have private rooms in the athletes village.
In some cases, Canadian players are two and three to a room.
The Russians are making certain their players are well-rested and ready to go.
“You grow up wanting this,” said Ilya Kovalchuk, the KHL star. “And now it’s here.”
“The pressure is good,” said Nikolai Kulemin, the Leafs winger. “There’s a lot of pressure here. A lot of friends and fans want us to win.”
Since the NHL players were added to the Olympic docket, Canada has won two gold medals, the Czech Republic one and Sweden one. It’s Russia’s turn. Maybe.