Sunday, May 04, 2008

Irish Olympic selection drama

There have been many aspects in sailing that have trickled down from the America’s Cup. Historically, they have had to do with materials and design, but the latest fad – litigation – is becoming exceedingly fashionable in Olympic circles. The US has been embroiled since October in a dispute involving the women’s boardsailing rep, and now the Irish are getting into the act. With three teams vying for the lone berth, and with a system for selection that appears to include both nominated events and subjective committee determination, there is holy hell being raised by one of the teams that – you guessed it –were not selected.

When it was recently announced that Peter O'Leary and Stephen Milne were chosen, it was Max Treacey and Anthony Shanks that were overlooked as were Maurice O'Connell and Ben Cooke. Treacey is now appealing against the decision made by the Irish Sailing Association. Said Treacey, "We truly believe that our record stands for itself. Without reflecting on any other sailors, Anthony and I won outright on the water, we alone qualified the country, we are the highest placed Irish Star sailors in the World Rankings, we won the nominated events by an indisputable margin, we were 4th in the Grade 1 Spring Europeans last year against virtually all of the current nominated countries for the 2008 Olympics, we are the only Irish sailing team this year across all classes to have attained the status of 'world class athletes' with the Irish Sports Council."

As the stakes increase, so do the risks. The Olympic world has become a high stakes game… just look at the number RIBs and support personnel at an Olympic class event. Any selection system with a quotient of subjectivity is going to get beat up by those on the outside looking in. If there are any other disputes that we failed to mention, you can add them to the comments section below.

Complete article on Tim Jeffery Telegraph blog.

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