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MOSCOW, July 24 (R-Sport) - Some gold medal winners at the Sochi Winter Olympics are set to be rewarded for their out-of-this-world performances with extra medals embedded with meteorite fragments, Russian officials said Wednesday.
The special medals are on offer to athletes who win their events on February 15, 2014, the one-year anniversary of a meteorite strike that injured 1,600 people, smashing windows and causing other damage in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk.
Chunks of that very space rock are to be chipped off and inserted into the medals, Chelyabinsk Region Culture Minister Alexei Betekhtin was quoted as saying in a statement.
"We will hand out our medals to all the athletes who will win gold on that day, because both the meteorite strike and the Olympic Games are the global events,” Betekhtin said.
Several scientific expeditions collected the meteorite shards, which were found to be formed from common chondrite.
Seven sets of medals are on offer on February 15: in the men's 1,500 meter speedskating, the women's 1,000m and men's 1,500 short track, the women's cross-country skiing relay, the men's K-125 ski jump, the women's super giant slalom, and men's skeleton events.
In total, a record 98 sets of medals will be up for grabs in 15 sports at the Games, which run February 7-23, 2014.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.