Russian pentathlon legend Moiseev retires to become national team coach

Two-time Olympic pentathlon champion Andrey Moiseev has become Russia's caretaker coach. It's hoped he would boost the team ahead of the Rio Olympics after their shock failure to find the podium in London.

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 Andrey 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 Added to that our preparation system was out of date,” admits President of the Russian Pentathlon Federation Vyacheslav Aminov.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 retired from the sport to be appointed Russia's caretaker head last week.

“I took a little break after the Games but didn't announce that I quit the sport. So the offer to become head coach pushed me to retire for good. It was a pleasant surprise. I really wanted to stay in the sport in some capacity,” says Moiseev.

Rostov-on-Don native Moiseev 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.

“I have achieved a lot in the sport and now that I've stepped aside 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 despite Moiseev's retirement, 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.

“Prince Albert of Monaco is Honorary President of the modern pentathlon international federation and supports the idea of increasing the number of medals at the Olympics. So we hope the I.O.C will approve it soon and in Rio there will be more pentathlon disciplines,” says Vyacheslav Aminov.

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.