Monday, July 07, 2008

The cruel, cruel nature of sport

At what point does an athlete get the benefit of doubt when it comes to their performance potential? When it comes to track and field in Canada the answer is never apparently. Or, at least, rarely and even then only kinda.

The Olympic track and field team was named today. The news here isn’t who is on it (because, honestly, so few people in this country have any clue who most of them are that it would be pointless to talk about, say, Megan Metcalfe’s chances in the 5000m—probably not good), but rather one name that isn’t:

Perdita Felicien.

The former world champion and current world silver medallist hasn’t officially been left off the team, but has been given a performance ultimatum by Athletics Canada—run the Olympic standard by July 22 or stay home (in case it means anything to you, that standard is 13.11 seconds).

Sports aren’t fair sometimes. If anyone deserves a break it’s Felicien, who has been fighting an injury since January—an injury that came just as she was starting to re-gain the form that saw her enter Athens as the gold medal favourite.

If she can’t run up to standard than she shouldn’t compete. But, as a current world medalist it seems ludicrous that she isn’t being allowed to make that decision right up to the day that she is scheduled to run in Beijing. What harm would it be to put her on the team and allow her to fully focus on getting better? It’s not as if Canada has a glutton of deserving hurdlers that would be missing out on the trip if she were to take up a spot only to have to pull out.

1 comment:

Greg Layson said...

Shameless plug here, but Eric Gillis, who ran the fastest 10,000m time by any Canadian this year, won the national championship and broke the B standard is also off the team despite being eligible for a Rising Star exemption. I'll have it in the Guelph Mercury tomorrow. I'm not sure what more these athletes need to do.