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Tomorrow the US Olympic team will be announced, and excitement is mounting. In the men’s field, especially, the choice is less clear than it seemed it may be at the start of the year.
Georgia Gould’s place is a near certainty with her fourth place in the Nove Mesto na Morave World Cup and her lead in the women’s standings.
Lea Davison’s nomination is also likely, but by no means assured. However past successes, including two top-10 World Cup finishes in 2011 make her appear the most promising candidate.
Todd Wells’ DNS in Pietermaritzburg after a crash practicing on the course dropped his World Cup standings substantially, but also kept him out of a lot of this year’s competition. So far his best World Cup result has been 32nd. He is likely to post the best US result of the men, but the prospect of a medal isn’t especially likely.
Sam Schultz (27) and Stephen Ettinger (23) have made their mark on the World Cup this year. Schultz is consistent and was an automatic nominee to the Olympic long team. At 23, Ettinger has great future medal potential. The possibility that he could go to London is by no means out of the question.
Several major questions will decide the outcome of the team. The questions on the table include:
– Will riders be favored for their likelihood to achieve the highest US result, even if a medal is unlikely, or will young riders be sent to London in the hopes of developing their talents to medal in the future?
– UCI rankings show consistency, whereas World Cup rankings show recent performance. Have the riders who have been having a stellar World cup year make the cut over those who have been posting consistent for a longer period?
– Is previous Olympic participation a desired quality?
– Will there be favoritism based on seniority?
Here’s how they stack up now. The answers to these questions will be evident when the team is announced.