Anxious wait for bobsleigh hopefuls
9 February 2010
Australian bobsleigh athletes Astrid Loch-Wilkinson and Cecilia McIntosh will have a restless night waiting to see if they have won an appeal to compete in the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) took their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) today arguing that the Australian two-man bobsleigh team should be added to the competition.
The CAS adjourned the matter and will announce their decision at noon tomorrow.
“I won’t sleep well tonight” McIntosh said “but competing at the Olympic Games is what I have wanted since I was ten years old”.
“We think we got a fair hearing and hopefully the decision will go in our favour” Loch-Wilkinson said.
The AOC appealed after the International Bobsleigh Federation (FIBT) omitted the Australian pair after they achieved the minimum qualification standard. The AOC argued the FIBT erred in not selecting a team from Oceania.
In today’s hearing in Vancouver the AOC argued an extra sled should be added to the field of 20 so that Oceania is represented. The International Olympic Committee encourages “universality” and all continents in the five Olympic rings should be included in events.
“Our preferred option is to have the Australian girls added to the competition” said AOC Director of Sport, Fiona de Jong.
The second option is for the 2-man team from Ireland to be omitted.
Ireland was represented by Patrick Hickey, IOC Member and President of the Olympic Council of Ireland. Hickey told reporters a loss at the CAS “would be worse than the handball that knocked Ireland out of the World Cup”. “But at the end of the day we will all sit down and have a beer” Hickey added.
Loch-Wilkinson and McIntosh have been training on the Olympic course this week at Whistler. They have their bags packed waiting to enter the Olympic Village. “We will stay in a hotel tonight but maybe tomorrow we’ll get to go to the Village and do what we’re here for which is to bobsleigh”.
Mike Tancred - Vancouver