The aftermath of a poor Olympic showing for Russia may have become even more dire on Wednesday, when the coach of the country’s women’s volleyball team was found hanged in his hotel room with some blaming the team’s poor results at the London Games for his death.
While there is certainly no proof that Ovchinnikov’s death was brought on by the national team’s poor results, two of his colleagues insisted that it played a part in the suicide.
“He took the Olympics very personally,” Russian men’s volleyball coach Vladimir Alekno told RT.com. “I saw what he was going through and how upset he was after the defeat. He didn’t talk much. Even after victories he was always thinking about something and smoked a lot.”
According to Sovetsky Sports news service, Ovchinnikov had also complained of recurring headaches in recent days, a malady which may or may not be connected to the Olympics and the stress it brought.
Regardless of reason, another of Ovchinnikov’s former colleagues was distraught at the news of the coach’s death, insisting that his suicide was simply the result of an irrational reaction to a single tournament.
“This is so stupid,” former Russian women’s volleyball coach Vladimir Kuzyutkin told Russian News Service. “He was my friend, my colleague. No one said a bad word about him. Yes, there was a blunder at the Olympics, well, to hell with it.”