Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A failure to track a rising star

Occasional blog commentor (and bastard that has a job I applied for) Greg Layson has written a nice piece today on the stupidity inconsistency of the Olympic selection process.

In summery, Guelph-native Eric Gillis was not named to the team for Beijing, despite pretty much doing everything that was asked from him as a rising star designated athlete.

The rising star designation is designed to give Olympic experience to athletes that don’t meet tough A qualifying standards (the A standards are set to reflect the potential to finish in the top eight at the Games).

Canada is horrific at converting world championship success into Olympic success (I can’t find a link, but I’m pretty sure we have the worst “conversion rate” of world medals to Olympic medals in the world). There are likely a lot of reasons for that, but you can’t help but think that one reason might be that our younger athletes don’t get much needed Olympic experience. Once they are contenders they are going in against athletes that are in their second or third Games. It’s pretty clear that the Olympics are a whole different gig than a world championships and if winning medals is the goal (which it should be) than getting up and coming athletes experience there should be prioritized.

One area where Gillis likely suffers is his age. At first glance 28 seems too old to be a rising star. However, as Greg correctly points out in his article, distance runners (Gillis is a 10k specialist) usually peak in their early 30s. So long as he isn’t (understandably) turned off from pushing through another four years, Gillis should be in the hunt in time for London.

Gillis is appealing the decision in hopes that he can still go to China. Hopefully Athletics Canada comes to its senses. Past history is not promising.


Jordie Dwyer said...

Layson can't be that bad...he used to have my job...granted, that was well before we had to resurrect the newspaper from those that came after him.

sager said...

We prefer to call him Greg (Awesome) Layson.

Jordie Dwyer said...

LOL....well, maybe I'll be able to live up those lofty heights some day in my stuff out here in the wild west...Must go, need my sleep since I'm part of the field crew for the Argos - Esks game later today...