Yesterday evening RF President Vladimir Putin gave the first complete estimation of the Salt-Lake Olympics. Russian athletes, participants of the Olympic Games were invited to the president’s residence in Novo-Ogarevo. President of the RF State Sports Committee Pavel Rozhkov and head of Russia’s Olympic Committee Leonid Tyagachev were also present at the meeting. The official part of the meeting concluded over a cup of tea.
Vladimir Putin treats the Olympic scandals philosophically: these are “moments that are to inure.” The president is sure, Russian athletes did their best at the Olympics, no claims can be presented to them. “We have got six gold medals, it is a very good result against the background of the pressing we experienced at the Salt Lake Olympics,” said the president. Thus, the athletes’ actions at the Olympic Games were satisfactory, unlike attitude of the Russian sports officials, lawyers, doctors and psychologists to the problem. They demonstrated lack of professionalism. Moreover, sports officials were extremely inactive during the Salt Lake Olympics.
RTR Russian television informs, the president held private conversations with some athletes: first, with pair skaters Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, about whom the first scandal arose at the Olympics, then with Olga Koroleva, the girl who turned out to be a real discovery in acrobatic free style at the Olympic Games; then with skier Mikhail Ivanov, who was perfect in the 50km event (he finished second in the event).
Vladimir Putin had also a twosome conversation with the coach of the Olympic hockey team Vyacheslav Fetisov. In the president’s words, the Russian team performed very well in Salt Lake City, that was certainly the coach’s desert. Although, as the president mentioned, “everybody wanted to see the Russian team the winner.”
As for the disappointment with the Olympics’ results, the president pointed out that the expectations had been originally extremely great. He also says, it would be wrong to accuse only the sports officials Leonid Tyagachev, IOC vice-president Vitaly Smirnov and head of the State Sports Committee Pavel Rozhkov of the defeat. Putin’s position on unfair refereeing at the Olympics is very steadfast. When Leonid Tyagachev said, the Olympic referees were biased against Russian athletes and the Russian team was ill-treated, Putin’s answer was immediate: “To be the best and win honestly, that is also the main sports principle, we should win unconditionally! To complain is the last and the worst that can be done.”
Regarding the president’s statements, he understands the situation in Russia’s sports sphere adequately. In his words, “we should analyze the recent sports failures to guarantee success in the future.” Indeed, important conclusions are urgently to be done now. President Putin hopes, Russia will have a chance to recover at the next Olympic Games in Greece and Italy.
Sergey Yugov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/03/06/37915.html