Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Gushue's Qualifying Comments

I like Brad Gushue and I especially like his direct and honest approach to things. Sometimes that ruffles feathers, but he’s is oh-so-right with his recent comments about the convoluted Olympic qualifying process.
For those who didn’t see them, here are a few quotes from Kevin Mitchell’s article in the Star-Phoenix. (the full article is here)
"I think it's ridiculous. I think it's the stupidest format.”
"We're forcing our teams in Canada to run themselves so thin, because you have to play so much to earn so many points to get into the Olympic Trials," Gushue said. "When it comes to the Olympics, I think the team that goes is going to be absolutely worn out. We experienced that a little bit in (Turin), and this process makes it even worse."
"Like I said to the CCA, if it wasn't broke, why fix it? We've sent six teams to the Olympics and won six medals. That's not too bad."

To be honest, I’ve read the Trials qualifying process about a dozen times and I’m not sure if I completely understand it. But essentially, it’s play, play, play then play some more and hope you earn a qualifying spot. But this pre-qualifying stuff is just plain silly.
A conspiracy theorist might think the CCA was trying to drag out the process to have more events where it could raise more money.
Here as I see it are the biggest problems.
** The selection process is far too complicated. It leaves your fans (not to mention the players) scratching their heads. (I mean, in my last Globe column, I tried to write about Kevin Koe having qualified for the pre-qualifying and it took about 10 paragraphs. I gave up and said he’d taken another step in the process.)
** The team that wins is chosen far too late. We’re the last country to choose our reps and because of the process, these guys are usually dead tired when the win. When I wrote the book with Russ Howard last year, he walked me through everything that happened to them and I couldn’t believe the team was still standing. Winning the Trials is one thing, but so much happens after that, it’s almost impossible to prepare. Why can’t the reps be chosen say, in October?
** There has to be some allowance for teams that change their lineups. I honestly don’t know what that is, but there used to be something about three of four or the skip and one other player. There are just too many situations where a lineup can change over a four-year period.
** This pre-qualifying stuff is nonsense. There’s no need for it. Go straight to the Trials.

Thanks to all those who provided some more curling couples. The most obvious one I missed was the Middaughs.
It also seems that if I was really cruel, I could come up with a list of best divorced curling couples however I digress.

1 comment:

KPurdy said...

This is so true. When dealing with the CCA on the process and the timing, I implored Danny and Gerry to consider the impacts of having a pre-Trials qualifying process so late in the game. For most women curlers, many of whom have family, to try and make the arrangements necessary to attend the Trials three weeks after you win, are enormous (childcare, time off work, arranging flights, tickets for family) -- and a complete distraction for those four teams (add four more for the men). Our athletes are not able to participate in the Canadian Olympic Committee programs because we don't know who our Canadian representatives are. They miss out on invaluable, intangable assistance, a chance to become part of the Olympic Team -- with respect to spending time with other Olympians who are poised to medal. With the Olympics in Canada, the fact that Canada has never won a gold medal when Canada has hosted the Olympic Games (Calgary, Montreal), we need to give our athletes the best possible chance to win gold, so we sing Oh Canada twice for Curling. Can you imagine? I believe that we have set up our two teams to win in spite of the process. But it's too late to make any changes.