Olympic Qualification: What About Canada?

Topher SabotJanuary 19, 2010

We have been making a big deal about the US Olympic Team, the first part of which will be announced today.

But what about Canada?  As the home country, the Olympics don’t get any bigger.

Cross-Country Canada has mandated a minimum team size of 12 athletes with at least 5 men and 5 women.  The maximum is 16.

The 12 skier minimum specified in the qualification criteria was put in with some optimism given that Canada has only 11 guaranteed quota spots.  But it is very likely that reallocation will result in at least 1 more, and could very well hit the maximum 16.

The following athletes qualified based on the Primary Selection Criteria.  This can basically be simplified to “having very good results in World Cup races.”

Devon Kershaw
Alex Harvey
Ivan Babikov
George Grey
Sara Renner
Perianne Jones
Chandra Crawford

The first six all qualified last year, while Crawford made it this season based on a special criteria.  Crawford missed all of last season due to injury.  She still needed a top-20 in a World Cup, which she did get.  Normally she would have needed two top-20s or a single top-12.

There is also Alternate Qualifying Criteria.  Canada held Olympic Trials races in December, and the word on the street was that winners of these races would get Olympic spots.   This is not technically the case as the Alternate Qualifying Criteria states that a separate ranking list will be created for the qualifying events – one for sprint and one for distacne.

Athletes are then nominated first from the Primary Selection List.  If spots remain, the Alternate Selection List (from the qualifying races) is used.  If no sprinters have qualified via the Primary Criteria (which is the case for the men), the Alternate Selection sprint list will be used to pick the first skier.  The distance list will then be used.  At that point skiers can be chosen from either list based on the discretion of CCC.

Based on this, the following people should be qualified for the team:

Dasha Gaiazova
Madeleine Williams
Brian McKeever
Stefan Kuhn
Gord Jewett
Drew Goldsack

The athletes listed above were apparently told they would be going to the Olympics, but only informally.  An official announcement on the team will be made on January 22nd, but will likely only include the top 11 as FIS reallocation will not have occurred yet.  The order above is the order of the current rankings, so if Canada received no reallocation spots, Jewett and Goldsack would be on the outside.

Apparently Brent McMurtry and Brittany Webster would be conditional selections to the team if the Canadian quota reaches 15 spots.  Cross-Country Canada would not discuss individual athletes at this point.

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Topher Sabot

Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.

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