Vyacheslav Fetisov enters big-time politics

In two months after the Salt Lake Olympics, the scandal about incompetence of Russian sports officials has come to its logical conclusion. Vyacheslav Fetisov, famous Russian hockey-player and chief coach of the Russian Olympic hockey team, was appointed head of Russia’s Sports Committee.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov signed an appointment decree. Vyacheslav Fetisov has been introduced to his colleagues early today. Former head of the Committee Pavel Rozhkov was appointed first deputy head of the Sports Committee. Shortly before the appointment, Vyacheslav Fetisov met with President Vladimir Putin.

Ideas touched upon the State Committee of the Russian Federation for physical culture, sport, and tourism as well. On Monday, President Putin signed a decree “About the RF State Committee for Physical Culture and Sport.” Therefore, the committee is no longer responsible for tourism. It is important that the decision on the reorganization of the committee was made immediately after the meeting with Vyacheslav Fetisov.

Today, much is expected from the legendary hockey-player, who is extremely popular and respected not only in Russia but also abroad. The RF Government admits that Fetisov’s appointment to the post proves the fact that “the state is increasing its concern regarding mass physical culture and sports.” The new head of the Sports Committee is believed to effectively put into place the a national sports development program adopted by the Council of the State.

Fetisov’s top priority objective is to establish effective cooperation between Russia’s Olympic Committee and State Sports Committee.

Today, Vyacheslav Fetisov addressed committee staffers and said that he “is ready for the implementation of really important tasks aimed at developing athletics, which concerns not only the health of the nation but prestige of the country and its defensive capacity.” In Fetisov’s words, Russia’s demographic situation is abnormal, as the death rate exceeds the birth rate and life-span is reducing. These problems are closely connected with athletics.

Do you think that the reorganization of the State Sports Committee will make sports popular in Russia and bring greater success of Russian athletes? One thing can be said for sure: Vyacheslav Fetisov has entered big-time politics.

Fetisov’s dossier:

Born in Moscow April 20, 1958. Played with the Soviet hockey team CSKA within 1974 – 1989; 1989 – 1995 – with the National Hockey League as a New Jersey Devils player; 1995 – 1998 – player with Detroit Red Wings.

Multiple champion of the Soviet Union, 11-time World Champion. Olympic champion in 1984 and 1988. Winner of the 1981 Canada Cup. Three-time winner of the Stanley Cup.

Within recent time Fetisov has been one of the New Jersey Devils coaches (together with other coaches dismissed from the post at the end of 2001).

Vyacheslav Fetisov was the chief coach of Russia’s hockey team at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics; the team won bronze.

Sergey Yugov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/04/30/40530.html

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