Russia has dominated the men's pentathlon over the past decade. They arrived at the London Games as hot favorites having two-time Olympic champion Andrei Moiseev and world number one Aleksander Lesun in the team.
However, they seemed to have left their talent on the plane. The squad failed to reach the podium once in the English capital.
“We had the best men's team in the sport and failed. After analyzing the results of our poor performances we understood that our athletes were not as fit as they should have been. Added to that our preparation system was out of date,” admits President of the Russian Pentathlon Federation Vyacheslav Aminov.
But one cannot criticize the sport's chiefs for not taking immediate action. Every single national team coach was sacked. While 33-year-old Moiseev being appointed Russia's caretaker head last week and will look after mainly the men’s team. This leaves former men’s coach Andrey Tropin coaching the women in a reshuffled pack.
Rostov-on-Don native Moiseev who has spent more than a decade in the sport and is widely regarded as the right person to give pentathlon a shot in the arm and lead the nation to gold at the next Olympics in Rio. The double Olympic Champion has not yet decided if he will be an athlete/coach or retire from the sport to just focus on his coaching.
“I have achieved a lot in the sport and now I see some things that should be improved. I want to transfer my experience to younger athletes. I know everyone in the national squad very well, and hope I can be useful to the team,” he says.
Competition within the Russian team is still very high, as they remain undoubted heavyweights in the sport. While ahead of the next games in Brazil, Russian athletes can expect to hear some good news.
Russia's pentathlon team used to be compared with Barcelona's football side – essentially a dream-team, at times impossible to beat. However, even the Spanish giants taste defeat from time to time. Getting back on the winning track as soon as possible is the first priority for the country's athletes, while dancing to the samba beat in celebration in 2016 is of course the main goal.