Russian Volleyball Coach Commits Suicide; Was It Over The Stress Of Losing The Olympics?

  @ericbrownzzz on August 29 2012 6:53 PM
Volleyball
The Russian women's volleyball team at the 2012 Olympics. Sergei Ovchinnikov, who coached the team, was found dead on Wednesday, prompting speculation that he committed suicide. He was 43. Reuters

Sergey Ovchinnikov, head coach for Russia's Olympic women's volleyball team, has been found dead in a Croatian hotel room. Russian media reported that his death was a suicide, and that Ovchinnikov hanged himself.

Ovchinnikov, 43, was in the middle of a visit to a Croatian training camp with his team, Dynamo Moscow. According to state-sponsored Russia Today, local media reports suggest the volleyball coach was found dead after failing to appear for a morning breakfast meeting.

Early speculation suggests that Ovchinnikov hanged himself as a result of his disappointment from losing the Olympic Games. Though the Russian team was heavily favored in the competitions, the team did not even place in the Games, coming in fifth overall.

Head men's volleyball coach Vladimir Alekno states that Ovchinnikov took the Olympics very seriously and was strongly disappointed after failing the place in the Games. Ovchinnikov was reportedly visibly depressed ever since losing.

"He took the Olympics very personally," Alekno told Russia Today. "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."

Former Russian coach Vladimir Kuzyutkin echoed sentiments that the death was caused by disappointment over the Olympics. Allegedly, the Russian volleyball coach "couldn't cope with" defeat.

"This is so stupid," Kuzyutkin told Russian radio station RSN. "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. I don't know why he couldn't cope with it."

International Volleyball Federation President Jizhong Wei expressed remorse for Ovchinnikov's death, calling it "sad day for volleyball."

"On behalf of the volleyball family I pass on our sympathies and best wishes to the Ovchinnikov family and to the players and officials at the Russia Volleyball Federation and Dynamo Moscow club," Wei said in a statement.

Ovchinnikov's cause of death has not been official announced, as Croatian authorities have not made an official verdict.

Ovchinnikov will be buried in Yaroslavl, Russia, the home of his wife and two children.

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