Tyagachev was involved in Sochi's winning bid to host the Winter Games in 2014 [EPA]

Leonid Tyagachev, the head of Russia's Olympic Committee, has resigned following the nation's poor performance at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, according to news reports.

Tyagachev, a former sports minister, stepped down after Russia placed 11th in the overall team standings, taking home only three golds from their 15 medals overall, finishing well behind hosts Canada, who scooped a record 14 golds.

The medal tally is Russia's worst achievement ever at the Winter Games, and Tyagachev's resignation follows threats by Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, that officials responsible would be fired if they failed to resign voluntarily.

Embarrassment

In the 2006 Winter Olympics, Russia was placed in the top five, with 22 medals, including eight golds.

In Vancouver, Russian Olympic officials had targeted 30 medals and a top-three finish in the medal standings.

But the team's miserable performance came as an embarrassment to a country that is hosting the next Winter Olympics in 2014 in Sochi, a bid that Tyagachev was involved with.

Medvedev had earlier in the week joined a growing chorus of criticism calling for the resignation of Olympic officials.

"Those responsible should take the brave decision and sign a letter of resignation…if they can't we will help them," he said, saying the poor showing was the result of a lack of 'Soviet spirit'.

"For a long time we have benefitted from Soviet achievements, at some point they ran out. We have lost the Soviet sports school, it is simply gone, but we have not formed our own system," he said.

Russians had their hopes crushed when their ice hockey team, who were favourites for the final, lost in the quarter finals and Yevgeni Plushenko, their figure skating hero, controversially finished second to an American. 

Source: Agencies