London 2012 Olympics: Head coach Van Commenee to mull future
UK ATHLETICS head coach Charles van Commenee has admitted even the glorious memories of “Super Saturday” and Mo Farah’s double gold may not be enough to persuade him to stay on after the Great Britain team failed to meet his Olympic medal target.
The Dutchman will now jet off on holiday and spend the next three weeks mulling over his future, with his bosses at the organisation, as well as the likes of Sebastian Coe, keen for him to continue in the role.
Van Commenee revealed he had “mixed emotions” over the Games as Britain fell short of their eight-medal target – they won six – but produced some “awesome athletics” and “iconic moments” which filled him with pride.
The hosts claimed four gold medals, including three in one athletics session for the first time in Olympic history on the opening Saturday. The Moscow Games in 1980 was the last time Britain won four athletics golds.
Van Commenee has high standards which he demands of himself as well as his athletes, though, and he has always said that he would hold himself accountable to his targets to maintain his credibility.
He said: “At the moment not much has changed for me, but I have taken advice from the CEO, Niels de Vos, and the board and a few of my very best friends to go on a holiday first for a few weeks and look into it more rationally rather than emotionally.
“At the moment I’ll look at what I’ve always said, but I’ve promised the people that I respect and value to give it a few weeks so that’s what I’ll do.
“They’ve advised me to go on a break. I feel like I want to jump on a plane tonight, because I am tired and so that’s what I will do.”
Lord Coe, chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee, has stated he wants Van Commenee to stay on until at least the 2017 World Championships in London.
“I’m flattered first and foremost,” added Van Commenee. “It’s a weird situation, I don’t make the set target and then people ask me to stay, it’s strange.
“But what is really important now is what is best for the programme.
“It’s not about what is best for Charles, it’s about what is best for British athletics and that’s what needs to be looked into very carefully.”
Van Commenee revealed that none of his athletes had told him they want him to stay on – “That should tell you something,” he joked – and he insisted that UKA would be able to cope without him.
“There’s always continuity, we work on that,” said the 54-year-old, who admitted it would make sense for him, or whoever took up the baton, to commit to 2017.
“It’s bad for any organisation to depend on one person. It makes you very vulnerable. The philosophy is there but it’s not dependent on one guy.
“The important thing is the programme. If I walk over Piccadilly Circus and a car is faster than me then what happens to British athletics?
“There is always a back up plan. Although you may see me all the time, that doesn’t mean that I do everything on my own.
“In the end everyone is replaceable.”
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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