In a statement issued late on Thursday, USA Cycling announced that it has reconvened its selection committee to reconsider the recent nominations to the 2015 Pan Am Championships after it was determined that modifications to the “principles of athlete selection” were not published in a timely manner.
The committee reconvened on Friday, and after that, USA Cycling issued another statement with further explanation.
“We always try to ensure than any changes to athlete selection criteria are published well before athletes are impacted by them,” said Steve Johnson, USA Cycling president and CEO. “Unfortunately, that did not happen in this case, so we have asked the Selection Committee to review their nominations based on the proven, well known and long-standing criteria.”
The Friday statement went on to explain how the selection process works, reading:
Nominations to important events such as the 2015 Pan Am Championships often occur in two steps. The first is to consider and nominate any athlete who meets the published automatic criteria. If any open spots still remain after the automatic nomination process, the Committee will then consider athletes who have requested consideration for discretionary positions.
While the discretionary nomination process necessarily involves a level of subjectivity, several years ago USA Cycling defined the parameters that should guide discretionary nominations in an attempt to add a level of objectivity to this process. The Principles of Athlete Selection identify three broad categories for consideration in the discretionary nomination process: 1) Medal Capability; 2) Ability to Enhance Team Performance; and 3) Future Medal Capability.
The updated principles of athlete selection were published too late to be used in the selection process to the 2015 Pan Am Championships. When the selection committee first convened to deliberate on the nominations to this event, they used the most recently-published discretionary criteria and were not aware of the publication date.
The selection committee’s revised nominations will be announced promptly, according to a USA Cycling media statement.
This could mean that two-time world TT champion and two-time Olympic TT gold medalist Kristin Armstrong (Twenty16-Sho-Air) might be left off the team. She was set to come out of retirement for the Pan Am time trial, despite not having raced any major events since her win at the 2012 Games.
On her team website, Armstrong wrote the following:
“As I started to chart my comeback races, I saw Pan Am’s as a great opportunity. I examined the criteria, and felt like I had a very good chance of obtaining a spot due to my past Olympic success and the recent power numbers I’ve been producing in training. This led me to believe not only did I meet the criteria for selection but more importantly that I had a good shot at success in Mexico.
“I know that nothing is given in this sport, success takes significant hard work and preparation. When I made the decision to return I committed myself to this regimen and I don’t want anything given to me. Like always, I want to earn it on the road.
“Like a lot of you, I just learned that this criteria for selection had changed recently, and now USA Cycling has decided to revert to their older criteria. If under this “new” criteria I am not selected I will not only fully support USA Cycling’s decision but more importantly the athletes that will be representing the USA in Mexico.”