Mikhail Kusnirovich, the director of the group of companies Bosco, which sponsors the Russian Olympic team in Turin, was seething with anger after the finish of the ski race on Saturday. The businessman lost his temper when he saw that the Russian athletes had not put on the sponsor’s outfits for the reward ceremony. The four Russian athletes were wearing their common ski gear in which they were competing on the track.
The pattern-adorned clothes of the Russian Olympic athletes in Turin do not comply with the standards of the International Olympic Committee. There are too many logos and brand names on the clothes, which the athletes simply had to plaster. That is why the four Russian skiers appeared at the ceremony wearing plain ski gear.
It was one of the brightest victories of the Russian athletes in Turin. The triumph of the four Russian skiers – Larisa Kurkina, Natalia Baranova, Yulia Chepalova and Yevgenia Medvedeva – has struck a serious blow on the ambition of the sponsor, Bosco di Ciliegi. It is worthy of note that the Russian athletes have already complained of Bosco’s clothes before. Many athletes claimed that the running shoes designed by Bosco were rubbing sores and that the clothes were not comfortable to wear at all.
The Olympic conflict between the athletes, coaches and businessmen reached its highest point yesterday. Rumour has it that Mr. Kusnirovich (the director of Bosco) decided to claim one million dollars from the Russian Olympic Committee.
Mikhail Kusnirovich does not hesitate to interfere in Russian athletes’ affairs, making them party in the so-called Russian House. Olympic champion Yevgeny Plushenko, for example, did not have an opportunity to communicate with journalists after his triumphant victory at the Games. Kusnirovich’s people made the skater leave the conference room and go to the Russian House for celebrations.
The President of the Russian Olympic Committee, Leonid Tyagachev, is deeply concerned with Mr. Kusnirovich's impudent actions. “Breaking into the team is not allowed. The athletes are stressed out, but they get involved in various presentations and parties in the Russian House. It is ok if an athlete has finished a performance, although the parties often occur between the competitions too. I have talked to Mr. Kusnirovich and asked him to stop troubling the athletes. The sponsor should make the sports gear that should not be plastered. When the Winter Olympics end, we will return to the problem. As for the million-dollar claim – it is a meager number against the preparations of the Olympic squad from our huge country. Next time we will deal with companies that work for the team, but not for their own promotion,” Leonid Tyagachev said.