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Dmitry Medvedev demands resignations over Russia's disappointing Olympics performance

March 1, 2010 | 11:55 am

Russia One of the most-anticipated reactions of the Vancouver Games appears to have taken off.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has demanded the country's sports officials resign following Russia's disappointing performance in the Winter Olympics. In a televised statement, Medvedev told officials to resign before the government would force them out.

"Those who bear the responsibility for Olympics preparations should carry that responsibility. It's totally clear," Medvedev said. "I think that the individuals responsible, or several of them, who answer for these preparations, should take the courageous decision to hand in their notice. If we don't see such decisiveness, we will help them."

Medvedev's reaction was somewhat expected considering Russia's reputation as a Winter Olympics power. Russian officials were hoping to win 30 medals at the Vancouver Games. Instead, the country took home 15, including three gold medals, to finish sixth in the medal count -- its lowest ranking in post-Soviet history.

The Russian president also was directly affected by the country's poor play. Medvedev had hinted before the Olympics he wanted to see Russia men's hockey team play for the gold medal. His hopes were dashed by Russia's embarrassing loss to Canada in the quarterfinals.

But more than anything, Medvedev doesn't want to see this year's performance replicated on home soil. Sochi, Russia, will host the 2014 Winter Games, and Medvedev will be eager to make sure his fellow countrymen and athletic prime minister will not have to settle for mediocrity.

"Without messing around, we need to start preparations for Sochi," Medvedev said. "But taking into account what happened in Vancouver, we need to completely change how we prepare our athletes."

-- Austin Knoblauch

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Dmitry Medvedev. Credit: Dmitry Astakhov / AFP/Getty Images