Russia Give Mercedes SUVs to Sochi Medalists

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gave Mercedes-Benz SUVs to 45 medalists from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in front of the Kremlin on Thursday, AP reported.

Gold medalists got a Mercedes GL model that costs 5.3 million rubles, silver medalists ML class SUVs costing 3.6 million rubles and bronze medalists the GLK costing 2.15 million rubles.

The money apparently came from a fund put together by Russian oligarchs.

Top: Adelina Sotnikova, a figure-skating gold medalist at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, in a Mercedes-Benz SUV, talks to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in front of the Kremlin on Thursday; Bottom: Korean-born skater Viktor Ahn, who won three gold medals in short track skating, sits in a Mercedes awarded to him. Top: Adelina Sotnikova, a figure-skating gold medalist at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, in a Mercedes-Benz SUV, talks to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in front of the Kremlin on Thursday; Bottom: Korean-born skater Viktor Ahn, who won three gold medals in short track skating, sits in a Mercedes awarded to him.

Figure skating gold medalist Adelina Sotnikova and Yulia Lipnitskaya, who do not have driver's licenses, were provided with their own chauffeurs.

Korean-born skater Viktor Ahn, who won three golds and one bronze in the short-track event, not only received the GL model but also an apartment in Moscow and a monetary reward.

Gold medalists got 4 million rubles, silver medalists 2.5 million and bronze medalists 1.7 million.

Russia won 13 gold, 11 silver and nine bronze medals to become the top medal winner for the first time since the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.

This is not the first time the Russian government gave cars to Olympic medalists. After the 2008 Beijing Olympics, it gave out 137 BMW SUVs, after the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics 22 Audi SUVs, and after the 2012 London Olympics 129 Audi sedans.

englishnews@chosun.com / Mar. 03, 2014 09:45 KST