The Swedish head coach Per-Erik â€œPekenâ€ Ronnestrand was told one week ago that he was no longer wanted as the chief national team coach. He announced in a press release on Tuesday that he was fired.
Anders Bergstom, Chief for Nordic in the Swedish Federation said that the firing of Ronnestrand was motivated by poor results. The Swedish team captured only three medals by three different skiers at Worlds. All came from sprinters. Ronnestrand is coaching the distance team. Lack of necessary leadership skills has been mentioned as part of the reason why Ronnestrand was fired.
Ronnestrand was clearly upset and angry in a phone interview at Glid magazine:
– The federation has told me that they no longer believe that I have the necessary strength in my leadership to turn around the small negative trend that currently dominates in the national team ahead of next years Olympics, says Ronnestrand.
He had not received any signals about this before he was told one week ago. The federation says that they have talked to the skiers and the wax team, which criticized Ronnestrand's leadership style.
– This is not true. I have also talked to the skiers and to the support team. No one from the federation has talked to them regarding my leadership style, says Ronnestrand.
How did you react to the message you got last week?
– I was of course shocked and disappointed. You expect an honest and straightforward communication from the federation. But they have not discussed the process with the national team with me at all.
You have probably wondered during the last week if you could have done anything different?
– I have analyzed myself around the clock all last week and talked to my mentors as well. I have concluded that I could not have done anything differently. I have done everything I could do and was happy with that. I had planned to be around though next years Olympics. This is like starting the Vasaloppet and then be told to quit/pull out at the halfway point, says Ronnestrand.