Medvedev asks for resignations from Russian Olympic officials after performance in Vancouver

Dmitry Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev

By By Wikinews

Dmitry Medvedev, the president of Russia, has called for the resignation of some of the country’s Olympic officials who prepared athletes; this call follows the country’s poorest-ever performance in Vancouver, in terms of medal count.

Medvedev made the remarks in a televised address, saying: “Those responsible should take the brave decision and sign a letter [of resignation]. If they can’t we will help them. We must drastically change the training of our athletes, judging by what has happened in Vancouver.”

Medvedev added that “[f]or a long time we have benefited from Soviet achievements. At some point they ran out. We have lost the Soviet sports school, it is simply gone, but we have not formed our own system, even though the amount of money put out into sports was unprecedented. That means that money doesn’t decide everything. Money is an important factor, but it does not decide everything.”

Russia finished the Olympics in eleventh place on the medals table, with three golds; at the 2006 Turin games, the country was in the top five, with eight golds and twenty-two overall medals. In Vancouver, the figure skaters did not receive any gold medals; in hockey, Russia lost 7-3 in quarterfinals to Canada, finishing out of the medals.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin also commented on the issue on Friday, two days before the closing ceremony of the Games. “Of course we expected more from our team. But that’s not cause to throw up our hands, wear a sackcloth and ashes or beat ourselves with chains.”

Russia is due to host the next Winter Games, held in 2014, in Sochi.