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Cronyism and Politics go for Gold

edited May 2016 in Articles

imageCronyism and Politics go for Gold

Fans are outraged over USA Triathlon’s selection (or lack of a selection) of the 3rd and final slot for the US women’s triathlon Olympic squad. You...

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Comments

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    GlennGlenn Member
    Between this nonsense, and the recently announced Marriage Proposal VIP package for Ironman branded events, we are turning our sport into a laughingstock. Neither Rob nor Barry seem to be smart enough to figure out that the longer this process takes, the more obvious their selection by questionable criteria. Keep this in their face Ben!
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    If the Olympics at any level had a non-corrupt process, I would be surprised. General skepticism, maybe. But I think we continually see the sports world disappoint. 
    Reid Taylor NOT Taylor Reid
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    Corruption is rampant in sports' governing bodies. The IAAF, FIFA, and IOC immediately come to mind. All have recent history of officials accepting under-the-table payment for various services rendered.

    And while I don't think we should assume corruption when events can be explained by simple incompetence--USAT has given us no indication that this is innocent stupidity. And if the same bungling were happening on the men's side, I'd also be more willing to consider incompetence.

    Ben has done well in connecting some dots showing that cronyism might be the explanation.  Or it may be worse. Until USAT gives us full transparency on what's happening, I'm assuming outright corruption is driving this issue.
    AaronWebstey
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    Jennifer PostJennifer Post Member, Level 2 Supporter
    Good luck to USAT and Octagon if they think they can turn Gwen even with a Gold into more than a blip during Rio Olympics. Niche sport star competing for exposure when there are so many other bigger stars in swimming, gymnastics, soccer, beach volleyball, etc.  doesn't stand a chance. She doesn't have an interesting backstory and she doesn't come across as personable. She doesn't even come across as being passionate about the sport. Instead every media piece on her is about how she treats it like a job and her husband treats his support like a job too. Admirable approach but not something that will excite the masses. Only hope to get her broad exposure is if she says something stupid again like her "I like rice" response she gave after Yokohama in 2014 and becomes an internet meme. USAT would do better to switch the narrative to the strong top 3 women and the depth of the women's program in the pipeline.
    KenElPescadoPeladowchevron
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    I watch all my Stanley cup playoff games on the nbcsports live extra app on the Apple TV, and @The True Groffy is on there at least every commercial break talking about missing birthdays and weddings. Right up there with phelps, Kerri Walsh and a couple other people I dont know.
    idking90Jennifer PostAaronWebstey
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    BrandonMarshTXBrandonMarshTX Member, Pro Triathlete
    Good luck to USAT and Octagon if they think they can turn Gwen even with a Gold into more than a blip during Rio Olympics. Niche sport star competing for exposure when there are so many other bigger stars in swimming, gymnastics, soccer, beach volleyball, etc.  doesn't stand a chance. She doesn't have an interesting backstory and she doesn't come across as personable. She doesn't even come across as being passionate about the sport. Instead every media piece on her is about how she treats it like a job and her husband treats his support like a job too. Admirable approach but not something that will excite the masses. Only hope to get her broad exposure is if she says something stupid again like her "I like rice" response she gave after Yokohama in 2014 and becomes an internet meme. USAT would do better to switch the narrative to the strong top 3 women and the depth of the women's program in the pipeline.
    It's Gwen's job to train and race and compete for a medal. Just pointing that out so it doesn't get lost. Same with Katie and Sarah. Same with Joe, Ben, and Greg.

    Sure, it might make a good story if Gwen went off the rails and got a couple of DUIs and got busted for pot. But, then they'd lump her in with all of the 'other' high profile athletes who couldn't handle the pressure, etc.
    ItsShugGranpa ChookAaronWebsteyyournotuniqueTad_Machrowicz
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    GasBombGasBomb Member, TRS/Baucco Team Member, Level 2 Supporter
    edited May 2016
    Good luck to USAT and Octagon if they think they can turn Gwen even with a Gold into more than a blip during Rio Olympics. Niche sport star competing for exposure when there are so many other bigger stars in swimming, gymnastics, soccer, beach volleyball, etc.  doesn't stand a chance. She doesn't have an interesting backstory and she doesn't come across as personable. She doesn't even come across as being passionate about the sport. Instead every media piece on her is about how she treats it like a job and her husband treats his support like a job too. Admirable approach but not something that will excite the masses. Only hope to get her broad exposure is if she says something stupid again like her "I like rice" response she gave after Yokohama in 2014 and becomes an internet meme. USAT would do better to switch the narrative to the strong top 3 women and the depth of the women's program in the pipeline.

    If you truly believe this you need to open your eyes.  How do you think stars become stars?  Because of how many gold medals they win?  Hell no!  The media creates stars, it creates celebrity.  (they can also destroy with equal gusto) Sure gold medals help but they're not everything.  She also doesn't have to stoop to Kardashian levels to be an Olympic "star". 

    Clay Richard Gasway
    King of all Mediocrity
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    Kelly O'MaraKelly O'Mara Member, Pro Triathlete
    Wait, wait, wait, I think we're missing the most important thing:

    @Glenn -- there are Ironman VIP marriage proposals now??
    peteAaronWebsteywchevron
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    MattMatt Member, Administrator
    Wait, wait, wait, I think we're missing the most important thing:

    @Glenn -- there are Ironman VIP marriage proposals now??
    http://forum.slowtwitch.com/forum/?post=5952083#p5952083
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    Jennifer PostJennifer Post Member, Level 2 Supporter
    It's Gwen's job to train and race and compete for a medal. Just pointing that out so it doesn't get lost. Same with Katie and Sarah. Same with Joe, Ben, and Greg.

    Sure, it might make a good story if Gwen went off the rails and got a couple of DUIs and got busted for pot. But, then they'd lump her in with all of the 'other' high profile athletes who couldn't handle the pressure, etc.
    It is totally not lost on me. Gwen is an amazing athlete. She's just from a niche sport and only can win one Gold. Not all Olympic stars that make it big and transcend their sports do so by scandals. They do it by phenomenal performances, multiple medals and interesting backstories whether real or pitched by their handlers.  I say Ledecky, Franklin (swimming), Douglas (gymnastics) May-Treanor & Walsh (beach volleyball) are all good examples of phenomenal athletes that have that 'extra' that allow them to gain broad appeal.
    wchevron
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    Gwen is going to be huge in NBC Olympic coverage. If she wins gold, she will become a household name in the US.
    BrandonMarshTXRobert RankinJames LangeGranpa ChookGasBombAaronWebsteyMartinyournotuniqueFastCat1107Ryan Heisler
    Do you know who I am?
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    Dark_markDark_mark Member, TRS/Baucco Team Member, TRS/Baucco Officers
    Sure, it might make a good story if Gwen went off the rails and got a couple of DUIs and got busted for pot. But, then they'd lump her in with all of the 'other' high profile athletes who couldn't handle the pressure, etc.


    Pat does all the drunk driving and pot so that she doesn't have to
    GasBombJennifer Postidking90mbrekk44Robert RankinAaronWebsteyyournotuniqueFastCat1107wchevronTad_Machrowicz
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    It is totally not lost on me. Gwen is an amazing athlete. She's just from a niche sport and only can win one Gold. Not all Olympic stars that make it big and transcend their sports do so by scandals. They do it by phenomenal performances, multiple medals and interesting backstories whether real or pitched by their handlers.  I say Ledecky, Franklin (swimming), Douglas (gymnastics) May-Treanor & Walsh (beach volleyball) are all good examples of phenomenal athletes that have that 'extra' that allow them to gain broad appeal.
    That Jenner dude/chick only won one medal in a niche event. And look at what he became. On that same note, if any of the women's tri hopefuls want to get famous the kardashian way, vivid video's headquarters is just off the 101 over the mountain from Hollywood. Used to ride past there once or twice a month (that's how I know...). 
    mbrekk44Jennifer PostyournotuniqueCraig DBen Hobbs
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    stevefleckstevefleck Member
    edited May 2016
    Good luck to USAT and Octagon if they think they can turn Gwen even with a Gold into more than a blip during Rio Olympics. Niche sport star competing for exposure when there are so many other bigger stars in swimming, gymnastics, soccer, beach volleyball, etc.  doesn't stand a chance. She doesn't have an interesting backstory and she doesn't come across as personable. She doesn't even come across as being passionate about the sport. Instead every media piece on her is about how she treats it like a job and her husband treats his support like a job too. Admirable approach but not something that will excite the masses. Only hope to get her broad exposure is if she says something stupid again like her "I like rice" response she gave after Yokohama in 2014 and becomes an internet meme. USAT would do better to switch the narrative to the strong top 3 women and the depth of the women's program in the pipeline.

    It's not exactly the same, but the Simon Whitfield Gold medal in Sydney in 2000, was a trans-formative event not just for Whitfield, but for the sport of triathlon in Canada. It was not just a lead sports story that day/night, it was the lead news story in the papers, radio and TV across the country! It was a big deal!

    In fact, I was asked on as a guest on the CBC Morning TV Show a few days after Whitfield won gold, to comment on the significance for Simon as a person, and for the sport of triathlon in Canada. On both fronts it was impactful.

    Now, the U.S. is a bit different. You win WAY more Olympic Gold medals than we do in Canada, so another gold medal win may not stand out as much. There's that. However, triathlon right now is at a cross-roads. All many in the U.S. know about the sport of triathlon is Ironman. To see this accomplishment, in this format, many seeing and hearing about it for the first time and on this large a stage, has the potential to be a trans-formative event for the sport of triathlon in the U.S. It might be the shot-in-the arm it needs right now!


    petefyrehaar
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    petepete Member
    @stevefleck I really liked the interview you did with Bob Babbitt. Your comment about triathlon in Canada not being ready for Whitfield's gold goes a long way to explaining why we haven't seen other Canadian athletes at quite the same level. 
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    dhrdhr Member
    Is Simon Whitfield still a household name in Canada?


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    James LangeJames Lange Member, TRS/Baucco Team Member
    I think that people are greatly overestimating the effect of a gold medal. I think it would take a US podium sweep to approach the effect people are hoping for.
    dhrCraig DKelly O'Mara


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    Jennifer PostJennifer Post Member, Level 2 Supporter

    @stevefleck I totally understand your example. Same thing happened in Sweden. Lisa Norden was on a milk carton before London 2012 in a series explaining olympic sports and the Swedish athletes competing that weren't well-known. After her amazing finish for the silver, she became a national hero winning the 3 top awards at the national sports awards in 2012. Top female athlete, top performance, and People's Choice. She even beat out Zlatlan in the public voting. Lisa's performance drove a triathlon boom in Sweden. In fact, triathlon is hard to say in Swedish so for the first few years people would say they were doing a "Lisa." Very inspiring to see how one amazing performance can be transformative as you point out. Unfortunately (?) with US so big and so many medal winners, without an amazing backstory or incredible finish like we saw with Spirig and Norden, I don't think it will grab the attention USAT thinks it will. USAT has nearly 3 months to get the gals on a milk carton. Go!


    KenElPescadoPeladopete
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    et5504et5504 Member, TRS/Baucco Team Member
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    stevefleckstevefleck Member
    edited May 2016
    @pete -Thanks for your kind words. Indeed, it was almost too much too soon for the sport at the time in Canada. It was a VERY different time, and a completely different era.

    @dhr - Yes, Simon is reasonably to very well known in Canada. The Gold Medal in Sydney, was one thing, but it was the Silver Medal in Beijing from 2008, that REALLY cemented his status in Canada. The triathlon races from Beijing ( which the CBC showed in-full) had the highest TV ratings numbers on the CBC for ANY sports events from that Olympic Games!! Think about that for a second.

    Back on-topic here but connected to my last point, the impact of a Gwen Jorgensen win, or whatever happens in the women's triathlon in Rio, will be very much driven by the media attention to it. Historically, NBC has taken a total pass on coverage of ANY endurance sports races/events at Olympic Games - it's like they don't even exist. That could be a real limiter if NBC does not decide to cover it, or a real door-opener and opportunity if they do!
    dhrAaronWebsteyJames Lange
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    @stevefleck NBC will certainly cover it. Just likely on CNBC or MSNBC or some other cable-only affiliate network. It will likely be on the live extra website/app. But a national broadcast of the event live will never happen. 1) the races are in the morning, so no chance of being broadcast over Today or whatever shit they spit out. 2) Other events that the US has always pushed harder are happening at the same time (10m diving semis at the same time as the women's race - David Boudaia is already getting tons of play on NBC's networks, so that's a stronger likelihood). 3) Any primetime coverage will be nothing more than a short recap of the race, as that day will definitely have T&F finals showing, along with highlights from other sports more noteworthy in the US - W Basketball, 10m Diving, W Volleyball, W Boxing. All those will be considered better viewing than triathlon.

    dhrAaronWebsteyJennifer Post
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    dhrdhr Member
    @stevefleck As a Detroiter who grew up looking longingly over the river towards Canada, this is good to hear
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    AaronWebsteyAaronWebstey Administrator, TRS/Baucco Team Member
    Good comment @KHilgendorf , BPF for the depressing reality.
    Jennifer Post
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    James LangeJames Lange Member, TRS/Baucco Team Member
    @stevefleck It also helped that the Beijing men's triathlon was one of the best races of all time. The lat 2km of the run was a huge roller coaster and it made Simon's medal that much sweeter. It's like the difference between your team winning the championship in game 7 in overtime vs. sweeping the series 4-0.
    Matt


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    MattMatt Member, Administrator
    SW tossing the visor with 800m to go was epic.
    AaronWebsteyMartin
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    @Aaron Webstey  - We've been VERY fortunate in Canada. The CBC has historically shown many of the main endurance sports races/events at the Olympic Games live, and in full for many Olympics. Whereas, as I previously noted, NBC a long time ago decided, for some reason, that these races/events (really anything longer than the 400m on the track and/or a minute or so in length), are of no interest to Americans! Thus, they are almost never covered. It's like they don't exist! If an American does well, and wins a medal in one, it might make it on for a brief 1-minute high-light package, but that's it! They don't even bother really covering, the 1500m track races, or the triathlons, etc . . at all!

    I've heard some ominous sounds coming out of the CBC. There have been MASSIVE budget cut-backs, and what we will actually see in Rio, may be VERY different and much more abridged than in the past! That will be unfortunate.
    AaronWebstey
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    MattMatt Member, Administrator
    Didn't our elbow-smashing PM reverse the cuts to the CBC made by the previous government?
    AaronWebsteyMatt_Froese
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    @stevefleck We here in the US are now fortunate enough to get live streams of most all sports through the NBC Olympics app/website, which is a huge step up for people interested in more obscure events. And that's great, but does next to nothing for increasing interest in these sports for the general population who will only watch the primetime coverage on NBC. So while we will definitely be able to watch a potential sweep of the women's podium somehow, unless that actually happens, there will be little coverage of tri distributed to the masses.
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    Matt said:
    SW tossing the visor with 800m to go was epic.
    Only in Triathlon has that phrase ever been said or done.

    For Us By Us.
    peteGasBombGentlemanJerseyDaveJennifer PostAaronWebsteywchevronyournotuniqueMartin
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    GasBombGasBomb Member, TRS/Baucco Team Member, Level 2 Supporter
    Matt said:
    SW tossing the visor with 800m to go was epic.

    Also, Jan has never sounded more "German" than that celebratory scream at the line.

    Clay Richard Gasway
    King of all Mediocrity

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