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Russian Sports Minister Ready to Resign Over Olympics

2. March 2010 by Gregg 0 Comments

After a poor turnout in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev promised that the officials that he held responsible for their lack of success would either resign or be fired in the near future.

Medvedev was scheduled to appear at the closing ceremony, but scrapped his plans after the Russian Olympic team scored 15 medals, including only 3 Gold Medals – less than half of what they won in 2006’s Olympics. Promising that the “Responsible Officials” would be targeted by this, Medvedev called for the officials to tender their resignation, pledging to “help them” resign if they refused. His party, United Russia, promised that they would have Russian athletes ready by the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

German-born Wolfgang Steiert, trainer of Russia’s Olympic Ski-Jumping team has already been fired over their weak performances and many more are set to resign or be removed from their posts. Sports minister Vitaly Mutkov has also announced that he would be willing to step down if the Government considered him to be responsible.

Medvedev also blamed the losses partially on the decline of the Soviet “Sports School” system, an early physical education initiative of the Soviet Union that helped develop sports culture and develop young athletes. Many legendary Russian athletes came from this system and President Medvedev cited the lack of a modern equivalent as one of the contributing causes of Russia’s performance.