The adventure of Vitaly Marinitch at the head of the French men’s gymnastics team will have come to an end. Appointed to this position in September 2021, the 52-year-old Ukrainian technician is on the verge of being fired for alcohol problems. According to The TeamJames Blateau, the president of the French Gymnastics Federation (FFG), explains that he asked “an end of mission to the State, which is his employer”. A far from trivial decision eight months before Olympic qualification for the Paris 2024 Games at the Worlds in Antwerp, Belgium (from September 29 to October 8).
It was during an internship in the Spanish seaside town of Palma de Mallorca, that Vitaly Marinitch slipped. ” I was alerted that on this course there was a problem of alcohol consumption but also inappropriate words, especially towards the physiotherapist. These two things seem to me to be serious enough to suspend the collaboration with Vitaly.explains James Blateau in the columns of the sports daily.
“We fight every day on ethical issues and all types of violence. There, when it comes from the project manager, who has to lead, lead the group, it’s not acceptable. In fact, we end up with exclusion, I have no qualms, the decision is easy to make”assumes the president of the FFG.
Marinich does not deny the facts
The man with six world podiums, including three titles as a gymnast, does not dispute the facts with which he is accused. The one who also offered a world title to the United States in a coaching role assures that he wanted to forge links with the gymnasts, but the latter deplored a gap far from being isolated. “It’s sad, but the guy is sick. He very often smelled of alcohol in training.one of them told The Team.
For several weeks, the coach had lost his mind to sport. “This course was to be a recovery, the launch of the season, with physical work and activities to get oxygen. The first three days there was nothing planned. The worst part is that his deputies were as helpless as we were.”details another gymnast.
Vitaly Marinitch had already been forced to resign in 2016 by the American Gymnastics Federation after inappropriate gestures towards an ex-athlete two years earlier. What the FFG could not ignore, according to journalist Thierry Vildary – who revealed on Monday evening the differences of the Ukrainian coach during the internship in Mallorca – when choosing the Ukrainian, responsible for the high performance of French gymnasium in view of the Paris 2024 Games.
Vitaly Marinitch, forced to stay at home, the national technical management is already working on the reorganization of the French men’s team. If the national technical director, Kévinn Rabaud, does not rule out recruiting a new coach, he first intends to rely on “national experts” identified in the group of FFG coaches to help French athletes progress.