Head coach of British governing will choose not to renew his contract at the end of this year
He may have fallen short of the target he was set for the London 2012 Olympics, but head coach Charles van Commenee will at least stay true to his word and is set to leave UK Athletics when his contract expires in December.
The tough-talking Dutchman had publicly stated on numerous times before the Games that if British athletes did not achieve eight medals – including at least one gold – then he would resign as a matter of credibility.
The host nation were two medals shy of that target, but their tally of six medals included four gold medals – three of which were won on a memorable ‘Super Saturday’ – which saw them place fourth on the medals table.
Had they picked up seven bronze medals and one gold – the bare minimum required to achieve the team’s target – then Britain would have finished just 12th on the medals table.
According to the Telegraph, Van Commenee was offered a new contract by UK Athletics chief executive Niels de Vos, but the 54-year-old instead chose to stay true to his word.
“If I hold athletes and coaches accountable every day, how could I work over the next four years if I am not held accountable myself?” said Van Commenee, who has been in the role since the end of 2008. “It’s a no-brainer. I never understand when people who have failed stay in jobs, as in politics and football.”
During his time at UKA, performances by British teams had notably improved. Since the start of 2009 all British championship teams – from youth to senior level, and from European to the Olympic stage – had exceeded the average medal hauls from each championships since the Eighties.
So it seemed somewhat short-sighted that Van Commenee’s ultimate success would be measured only by an Olympic medal tally. After the Games he took a break, during which he pondered his decision, although it is likely that he had already made up his mind.
His successor as head coach is expected to be announced next week, along with some other key appointments at the national governing body.
“I have mixed emotions,” Van Commenee was quoted as saying after the Olympics. “We haven’t met the target that was set but at the same time we provided some awesome athletics and some iconic moments that will remain forever with the British nation, which fills me with pride.
“Four gold medals is exceptional and fourth in the medal table is something which we usually don’t reach. We had some really good youngsters knocking on the door who produced something but couldn’t follow it up.”