How we managed to survive the Olympics

After coming out third, Russian team has not become a winner. It has not become a looser either.

The Olympic Games have ended. The results vary from country to country. As for Russia, the results turned out to be quite depressing. Our athletes have only slightly surpassed their achievements of previous games in Atlanta (1996); back then we got  26 gold medals, and represented a humble and poor country.

This time the goal was to get 30 gold medals; some hoped for forty. In reality, what we managed to obtain 27 gold and silver medals as well as 38 bronze medals. Plus, a third place in the most important all-team competition. Overall, the picture isn’t glamorous at all.
So whose fault is it anyway?
Could it be the head of the “Public community”, president of the Russia’s Olympic Committee Leonid Tyagchev? Or perhaps Vyacheslav Fetisov, director of the Federal Agency of Sport and Tourism of the Russian Federtion?
“Russian Olympic Committee is responsible for everything that’s taken place in Athens,” stated Fetisov.
“That’s strange; he didn't mention anything like that especially in such harsh manner,” claimed Tyagachev caught by surprise.

What saddens Putin and Powell?

Americans have also lost just as many medals as Russia (5 gold medals) in comparison with the Olympic Games of 1996 in Sydney. True, the American team managed to be number one with 35 gold medals, 39 silver medals and 29 bronze medals. Just as “Pravda.Ru” predicted, the amount of medals was just right to earn them a title of ultimate victors. This time however Americans cannot brag about their victory in Athens either. Shameful defeat in Boxing and Volleyball could not be called a lucky start indeed. What optimism is there to talk about? Their future defeats will be even more drastic; this is already getting quite obvious.

Neither of us on both ends of the ocean could imagine that China also had a plan in regards to the Games: to surpass Russia and the US in the midst of a fierce competition between the latter two rivals. As far as Russia is concerned, the plan was a success. As for the US, they could not quite make it.

China has won a total of 63 medals in the all-team competition, including 17 silver and 14 bronze medals. The number of gold medals is significantly greater than that won by Russians (32). In other words, the Chinese still lack class, but  they possess tremendous desire, passion to be the number one.

It is not coincidental that neither Russian President Vladimir Putin nor Secretary of State Colin Powell did not attend the closing ceremony. No matter the reasons.

No matter which way you look at it, Olympics is a political affair. Athletic triumph is an indicator of a nation’s health. Besides, such sport show helps to divert people’s attention away from daily problems.

For now, Russia lacks a unified structure of sport industry. It is also isn’t likely that it will ever emerge. OKR along with the Federal Sport Agency have not yet determined which one of them should so what. Position of the president of the sport federation is basically a lifetime duty; such are the regulations of these federations. And now look what we’ve got here: leading sport specialists are controlled by Fetisov’s company instead of OKR or the federation. This can only indicate that everything in Russia exists independent of everything, where state sport-leaders, presidents of federations, OKR’s top officials, head coaches, no one basically works under  no one’s supervision, no one is being appointed by anyone, no one can fire anyone, no one wants to be responsible. Such situation is not far from the truth.

Russian nuthouse – mobile monument of insolence

I assume that Americans will never believe this and Russians will never even question where exactly the sum of 350.000.000 rubles has disappeared. This money had been provided by the Russian government to aid our athletes getting ready for the Games. There were also tens of millions of dollars that had vanished without a trace as well. Actually, people already know…well, kind of. But no one is going to investigate and count every dime.

For instance, right before the Olympics people were informed about the “Russian House” that was going to be build in Athens. They said the house would be cozy and nice, a real home for athletes and journalists alike. And can you imagine, there has not been a single report from that place two weeks prior to the games! Not a single athlete even mentioned it. But what kind of money were invested in that project! Perhaps, only high-ranking officials were able to benefit from the project. Turns out it was not “Russian House” but “Russian Nuthouse” where officials could have their parties. 

True, it would be incorrect to blame government officials for all failures. After all, Tyagachev is not the one responsible for gymnasts’ accomplishments.

On a scale from one to five I would give Russian team a “3”. First, let’s give our government a "1” for those sport disciples where Russia could definitely be the winner but due to the lack of financing has to forget about this idea. Such for instance are slalom, horse back riding, wind surfing, mountain bike, archery, taekwando, table tennis, grass hockey. By the way, the above disciplines all add up to 41 sets of medals!

Our gymnasts, swimmers, shooters receive a solid “5”! Boxers (freestyle boxing, classic boxing) as well as volleyball players in my opinion all deserve a “4”!
Unfortunately, Russian basketball team, water polo, and handball teams all deserve a “3”.

Bravo gymnasts-veterans Svetlana Khorkina and Alexei Nemov, Dmitry Berestov and Tatyana Lebedeva! Yet, where are women’s handball or water polo teams? When will they stop finding anabolics in our female weight-lifters and athletes? How come we celebrate so many great victories of our female athletes and none of male’s? (Dmitry Borzakovsky is an exception). Aren’t doctors and physiologists hired by the federation to blame here?

Our fencing team deserves a solid “2”. And a “1” goes to our football players and tennis players. Swimmers in turn deserve a “o”.  

I realize, Russian president Vladimir Putin has already congratulated everyone with good games. I also realize that now we will attempt to cover up all the shame that we’ve experiencing for the whole week and a half out of total two weeks. However, does anyone feel happy of the current state of sport in our country? Is mere “3” a good grade after all?

Alexei Perfiliev

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Author`s name Andrey Mikhailov