Wednesday, April 28, 2004 - Latest News
Big Changes to 2006 and 2010 Olympic Criteria from COC

This report came from Bruce Keith via Drew Goldsack.

On Nov. 22, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) Board of Directors approved the use of the  "International Federation (IF)" standard for eligibility on the Canadian Olympic team for 2006 and 2010. This new standard replaces the "top 16" qualifying criteria which has been in place in Canada since 1976.

The International federation for cross country skiing is the Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS). The FIS rules for the upcoming 2006 Winter Games in Torino state that each country may send a maximum of 20 cross country athletes, which may consist of a maximum of 12 men and 12 women. Each selected athlete must have achieved at least one result better than 100 FIS points during the qualification period which begins at the start of next season. Well over 20 Canadians have achieved this standard in the past year.

A few additional points to note:

  • Any Canadian winter sport can set more stringent criteria if they want to. It's unlikely in my mind that Cross Country or Biathlon would do so, but Bobsleigh/Skeleton might (they used "top 6" as their qualifying criteria for Salt Lake!).
  • Each Canadian winter sport must now decide how they will go about choosing the athletes they will put forward for the Canadian team for the 2006 Games.
  • The COC change for 2006 and 2010 Games qualification should be regarded solely as a "performance enhancement strategy". It should be noted that the motion passed by the COC stated that the "IF standard" criteria approach will be evaluated after the 2010 Games. While it's always hard to predict the future, I think it's fair to say that if the "relaxation" of the criteria for 2006 and 2010 do not produce significantly better results at the Olympic Winter Games for Canada, we could well be looking at a "top 12" criteria standard for the Canadian team going to the 2014 Games.
  • FYI, the COC also decided on Nov 22  to leave its qualifying criteria for 2004 (Athens) at "top 12" (in spite of great pressure for a relaxation of that standard from some summer sports). The big issue once Athens is over is what the COC will do regarding the Canadian qualifying criteria for the 2008 Games in Beijing.
  • So winter sports in Canada have been given a huge boost by the COC decision. And there is no question that more winter sports athletes will now be representing Canada at the 2006 and 2010 Games than with any other qualifying criteria approach. One more reason to start brushing up on your Italian!

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