December 10/99 9:57 am - Jeanson vs CCA
Posted by Editor on 12/10/99
Jeanson - CCA Dispute Comes Out in the Open
The CCA has fired an opening salvo in the war to defend its position on not automatically adding Junior World Champion Genevieve Jeanson to the pool of riders qualified for the Olympics. Jeanson and her supporters have been waging a public relations campaign in the Quebec media (where she is currently a big star), demanding that she not be required to go through the process that others such as Clara Hughes, Lyne Bessette, Linda Jackson and Alison Sydor have had to.
The CCA has seethed in silence (mainly) while this has gone on, but went public today in a Toronto Sun article with a scathing indictment of the pressure tactics used by Jeanson's group. The full text of the article can be read at www.canoe.ca/SlamCycling/dec10_buf.html.
Readers will know that we are often critical of CCA policies and tactics, but this time we are in full agreement with the Canadian Cycling Association. Jeanson has incredible talent, but she also has a considerable history of refusing to be part of a team, badmouthing other riders such as Lyne Bessette (her comments after Killington were juvenile and in very bad taste), and generally demanding preferential treatment. One prominent women's trade team manager said to me that it would have to be an extremely desperate team that would take on Jeanson.
The CCA, as required by the COA (Canadian Olympic Association), has published Olympic qualification criteria. These criteria include achieving certain standings at international events and in world rider rankings. All riders have to meet these requirements, and one of the things the CCA has been doing for the past season is selecting riders to team projects so that they will have the chance to qualify. So far, in the women's road pool, the following riders have qualified:
In addition, Anne Samplonius and Leigh Hobson have met half the criteria.
In this group, we have Olympic medal winners, World Champions, Commonwealth and Pan Am Champions, major Tour winners. To add a rider who has met none of the standards is insulting.
You may ask: What about Jeanson's two World titles? Those are both Junior titles, and all qualification criteria are for senior events - a reasonable requirement, given the greater competition at the senior level (and the fact that riding at the Olympics would be almost exclusively against senior riders).
The CCA has also offered Jeanson numerous opportunities to attend events where she could meet the qualification ("easily", said Pierre Hutsebaut, Director of National Racing Programs). Hopefully, Jeanson and her handlers will come to their senses soon and open a dialogue with the CCA.
What's your opinion on the situation? You will be able to vote on it a little later today and, of course, you can always put your opinion in the Forums.