Wednesday, December 12, 2001 - Perspective
Phil's XC Journal #13

- By: Phil Villeneuve

Hi Everyone,
It's down to crunch time and I get the feeling I need to clear up a few things before the big decision is made regarding our attempt at making the Olympic standard. I've always believed, from the point I actually made my decision (and believe me when I say it wasn't an easy one) that I AM DOING THIS FOR CANADA AND FOR THE GOOD OF THE SPORT. It is important for you to understand this very clearly. I am here in order to help qualify a team for my country, FOR CANADA. In fact, when I write this I speak for all of my teamates here with me: Robin Mckeever, Guido Visser, Steve Cyr and our team manager Dominic Gagnon.

We came here to give this a shot because we had nothing to lose. All we wanted was the support of our peers. Unfortunately, not everyone agreed with us. As far as I am aware, all the best skiers in the country were asked to join us. Not everyone was in a position to do so, and that I completely understand.

I am aware of all the latest talk and concerns by athletes and individuals about the fact that if we qualify we would be going to the Olympics without having to go through selection races.

We left last week unaware of this important detail. This was a mistake. It is our responsibility as athletes to know all information regarding the Olympic criteria.

LET ME MAKE THIS VERY, VERY CLEAR.
We fully expected to go through selection races in order to properly earn our spot on the Olympic roster. In fact, we urge CCC and the COA to make the proper changes and make sure that CANADA is represented with its best men XC skiers at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

I have to admit that I never expected all of this to go so far. Being the Black Sheep of Cross Country Skiing wasn't one of my goals this season...skiing fast was. Time will tell if I actually made the right decision.

Thanks for reading,
Phil


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