The drama involving Alex Harvey and Cross-Country Canada has come to an end with a compromise agreement that will allow Harvey to be a part of the Canadian World Cup Team for the summer.
CCC had informed Harvey that he would be relegated to the Development Team for the summer because he would miss two of the four World Cup training camps. The media got wind of the situation, and it quickly became a major issue. The Harvey camp responded with strong words. Harvey’s famous father Pierre stated “These are not professionals,” in regards to the CCC, and Harvey’s personal coach Louis Bouchard insinuated that Francophone athletes were being treated differently then Anglophones.
Harvey himself was on vacation during most of the initial interactions in the media and was not directly involved.
With Harvey establishing himself as one of the top skiers in the world this season, CCC could not afford to alienate him, and Harvey would be hard pressed to achieve his goals without the backing of the National Governing Body. And so the two sides came together and were able to work out a compromise.
Harvey is currently at the World Cup camp in western Canada, an event he had not been planning attending. He will, however, travel to Austria in the fall for on-snow training, missing the World Cup camp in Mammoth, California.
Tom Holland, Director of High Performance at Cross-Country Canada, told the press that CCC needs to balance the needs of individual athletes with the goals for the program as a whole. CCC believes that team training camps are very important, building cohesion and the sense of working toward a common goal.
Harvey read a prepared statement at a news conference with CCC on Friday, and stated several times that he had hoped the issue could be resolved internally. He reiterated his commitment to his teammates, but also cited his young age as a reason for needing more time at home working with his personal coach. He also said that this disagreement was not about Alex Harvey, but how CCC works with individual athletes and integrates their needs into that of the overall program’s.
Both sides were happy to move forward and get on with preparations for the Olympics. Holland did say, in response to a question, that creating an exception for Harvey would open the door for similar requests from other athletes in the future.
Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.