Olympic deadline approaching 

Sports federations to submit athlete lists to COA by end of week

This is the last weekend that Canadian athletes have to qualify for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. The qualification period officially ends on Jan. 18, when national sports federations are required to submit final lists of athletes to the Canadian Olympic Association.

To qualify, athletes had to meet criteria set by the International Olympic Committee, their national sports federation, and the COA.

There are competitions this weekend in alpine skiing, snowboarding, freestyle skiing, and a variety of other sports which may determine who qualifies.

While Canada will have representation in most sports and most of the team members have already been finalized, athletes can still squeak in before the deadline. The results this weekend will also determine several close races where more athletes have qualified for an event than a country is allowed to enter in that event. In those cases it will come down to international ranking.

One example of this is in the men’s alpine snowboarding. Jasey Jay Anderson has a guaranteed berth on Team Canada, while Jerome Sylvestre, Mark Fawcett, Ryan Wedding and Darren Chalmers are left to battle for three spots.

Chalmers, who lives in Whistler, is currently the odd man out, but can turn it around with a top 10 finish in Alpe d’Huez, France, this weekend, providing he finishes ahead of the other three racers.

The halfpipe selection is also complicated, with a close race for the remaining three spots on the men’s team. Brett Carpentier has already guaranteed his spot, and the remaining three could go to either Daniel Migneault, Guillaume Morisset, Mike Michalchuk, Trevor Andrew, or Dave Melancon.

Natasza Zurek has already qualified for the women’s halfpipe team, but the remaining spot could go to Dominique Vallee, Lori Glazier, or Maëlle Ricker.

No women have qualified for the alpine events, or have a chance to qualify after disappointing performances in a recent women’s parallel giant slalom in Arosa, Switzerland.

"It’s not a surprise," says national team coach Christian Hrab. "It’s a young team still developing internationally. But they are very disappointed. The mood here tonight is very down. They’ve been trying for three months to get those spots and they were always hopeful."

In alpine skiing, Whistler’s Britt Janyk needs one top 12 finish in the giant slalom, while Genevieve Simard needs to finish in the top 13 in the super-G.

There is one open spot on the men’s freestyle moguls team that could go to either Ryan Johnson or Scott Bellavance after third contender Jim Schiman injured his knee last weekend and is done for the season.

In addition to the athletes selected to compete, the team will be bringing alternates who have already met the criteria of the IOC, COA and national sports federations.

The final list of qualified athletes should be available by the end of January.

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