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Russia giving Olympic medal winners sports cars

Putin hands out state awards, Audi sports cars to Olympic medalists.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin gives volleyball player Sergey Tetyukhin a state honor in Moscow on August 15, 2012. (ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia's Olympic champions are all getting luxury cars after the nation lauded its sporting heroes today during a special ceremony with President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin.

Russia finished fourth at the 2012 London Olympics with 24 gold, 25 silver and 33 bronze medals.

It's seen as a mediocre result in Russia since this is the first time the nation has finished outside the top three.

Still, Putin said there are many positives for the Russian people.

“If you look at our result at the 2008 Olympics – we took third team place there, but the number of medals we won in London is greater than in Beijing,” Putin said, according to RT.com. “So this is, for sure, an improvement.”

Russian athletes won an extra gold, and 10 more overall, compared to Beijing.

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Each of the Olympic medalists — all 129 of them — are getting personalized Audi sports cars, Ria Novasti said.

There are different models for gold, silver and bronze medalists.

The athletes were also given state honors, including Order for Services to the Fatherland, Order of Honor and Order of Friendship.

Russia is hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi.

Putin encouraged the medal winners to visit schools and encourage young children.

Some of the athletes said they are feeling overwhelmed by all the attention and demands Russia is putting on them.

“These events are really hard. I’ve been on my feet since the early morning and these events don’t stop,” 400-meter hurdles champion Natalia Antyukh told Ria Novasti.

“It’s all fine, but it’s hard, both physically and emotionally.”

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