Dmitry Medvedev is not happy about Russia’s Winter Olympics performance:
Those in charge of preparing Russian athletes for the Vancouver games “should take the brave decision and submit their resignations,” he said.
“If they cannot do it, we will help them,” Mr Medvedev added.
Russia – traditionally a winter sports powerhouse – ended 11th in the medals table, with just three golds.
“For a long time we have benefited from Soviet achievements, at some point they ran out,” President Medvedev said at a meeting of the governing United Russia party on Monday.
Here’s an excerpt from a former Soviet coach’s description of the Soviet system:
“The idea that was the younger generation had to be fit enough to protect the motherland, so a nationwide system of physical education was implemented,” he said. “But to a degree it was also a propaganda tool … one of the goals was to prove the superiority of the Soviet approach, social life and so on, and show that Russia would not settle for second place.”
Though the new system did benefit the Russian sports scene by allowing all children an opportunity to play competitive sports at no cost, a mandate was set among coaches and players on national teams — start producing positive results or face severe consequences.
“There was a lot of pressure on coach and athlete,” Beliaev said. “The Ministry of Sport would prepare a forecast of how many medals each team should win at the Olympics, and if a coach didn’t meet that benchmark, in most cases, it meant losing his job.”
Not exactly the Olympic Ideal.