MOSCOW  - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday congratulated the country’s Olympic athletes and their coaches and expressed his gratitude for their excellent work.“On behalf of all Russian fans I thank you for your performance, for our country’s success at the Olympics Games” Putin said at a special ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow. “This achievement has filled the hearts of the country’s millions of supporters with pride for our country.”Putin, a judo black belt who watched some of the competition in London with British Prime Minister David Cameron, said he was satisfied the Russian team won more medals than at the previous Games.“Though we finished in the fourth place in the medal table in London we won more medals than we did in Beijing,” he said. “This year we received 10 more medals than in 2008, this is an unconditional success.”In London the Russian team earned 82 medals overall — 24 gold, 26 silver and 32 bronze. Putin awarded five members of the country’s victorious synchronised swimming team — Maria Gromova, Anastasia Davydeva, Natalia Ishchenko, Svetlana Romashina and Elvira Khasyanov — the Order of Merit.Three-time world champion rhythmic gymnast Evgeniya Kanaeva received the same award for her gold. The winner of the women’s 400m hurdles gold Natalia Antyukh and volleyball player Sergei Tetyukhin were given the Order of Honour, while 33 other Olympic winners were decorated with the Order of Friendship. All 130 country’s Olympic medal winners were given high-end Audi cars by the government. “We should set ourselves the very ambitious objectives, the most ambitious,” Putin concluded. “In this case we’ll achieve a success. It’s quite right to set ambitious objectives.”