As a result of a second -- and final -- appeal, Sheila Reid was today named to the Canadian Olympic team for the 2012 London Games. Reid's first appeal, to Athletics Canada -- the country's Olympic authority, was quickly (almost summarily) denied over a week ago days ago. Today's decision was given by a second group composed of individuals not affiliated with Athletics Canada. In their opinion, Reid's performances (a 5000 meter win at the Canadian Trials + an Olympic "B" time of 15:23) was sufficient to meet Athletics Canada's "Rising Star" provision. Even though much of the discussion over the past few days has focused on the fact that Athletics Canada's "Rising Star" provision stipulates than two "B" performances were required (and that Reid has only one), other language of the provision states the following:
"Notwithstanding the criteria, in truly exceptional circumstances, the NTC [National Team Committee] may in its sole discretion identify athletes/relays as rising stars and may select them to the Olympic team."
While Athletics Canada initially refused to see Sheila Reid's case as rising to meet the "truly exceptional circumstances," the second appeal board -- after deliberating close to a week -- did, and its decision gained Sheila Reid a spot on the Canadian team. It announced today the following:
"Sheila Reid submitted an appeal for Rising Star consideration based on winning the Canadian Track and Field Trials in the 5000-metres and having an Olympic B standard in the event. Sheila also has two Olympic B standards in the 1500-metres. Reid was the national champion in the 1500-metres in 2011 and is a five time NCAA champion demonstrating her ability to compete on demand in championship races. The National Team Committee was willing to nominate her in the 5000-metres pending a competitive readiness test which she successfully completed earlier this week."
The official announcement from Athletics Canada is HERE. Reid arrived in Belgium today in preparation for the London Games.
“I’m relieved and excited,” Reid said. “This season has been more challenging than ones in the past. I had my collegiate obligations while also trying to satisfy the Olympic standards. I feel like it would be hard to have everything and I was very disappointed in my collegiate season. This is nice way to kind of sum everything up, to know that all the hard work I did before this wasn’t for nothing.
“I think anyone who knows me and knows the kind of racer I am, knows I race to win. When you kind of chase the times it makes it kind of a different race. I’m just excited because I know that now that I have made it to this stage, I know I can kind of do my best and just run for place instead of just time.”
“I am thrilled that Sheila will get to compete in an Olympic Games at such a young age,” Villanova women’s track coach Gina Procaccio said. “The experience will be invaluable to her future success.”
Congratulations to Reid for becoming the third Villanovan (joining Adrian Blincoe and Marina Muncan) who will compete in track at the London Games.