A conversation about Russia's turnaround can't be had without an examination of its past difficulties with doping.
At four of the previous six Olympics, both summer and winter, Russian athletes were stripped of medals after failing doping tests. The situation had grown so dire that former IOC President Jacques Rogge publicly chastised the Russians and demanded that they "respond with strong anti-doping actions" in Vancouver.
Russian anti-doping agency managing director Nikita Kamaev told The Associated Press before the Sochi Games started that ramped up testing resulted in about 180 busts in 2013, an almost 70 percent year-on-year increase in positive cases.
So far in Sochi, six athletes have tested positive for banned substances. None have been Russian.
"It was a fantastic performance, great work by the coach and federation. They did everything professionally and put such a great ending," Vitaly Mutko, Russia's ministry of sport, told the Russian television network R-Sport. "The team has exceeded the plan. The rest isn't important. I congratulate everybody."
Associated Press writers Leonid Chizhov, John Leicester in Sochi and Mattias Karen and Tom Withers in Krasnaya Polyana contributed to this story.