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Basketball - 28. March 2012.

RUS - The quest to be 'Olympic champion forever'

MOSCOW (Olympics) - Nothing brings a smile to the face of a leading official with a basketball federation like a gold medal.

Russia's basketball supremo, Alexander Krasnenkov, wore the biggest of grins last summer when the national team won the EuroBasket Women.

Not only did it confirm that Russia were the top team on the continent, but the triumph also put the team into the London Games.

Now, Russia's team has a chance for what might be called basketball immortality.

They'll attempt to beat the Americans and Australians to the gold.

"We'll train a lot, prepare quite carefully," Krasnenkov said to FIBA.com.

"The Olympics is a level that is one level higher than the European Championship, though I respect the European Championship.

"There are great players, great teams. I know all the federations and members of the federations.

"But the Olympics is the Olympics.

"The players dream about Olympic medals.

"You can't be the ex-Olympic champion.

"If you win the Olympics, then you are an Olympic champion forever.

"If you win the Olympiad, you are always on the top."

Russia, who are third in the FIBA World Rankings for Women, will be among the teams with a real shot of upsetting the United States.

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