It looks like the US will not be sending its top youth swimmers, cyclists and shooters to next year’s Youth Olympic Games.
According to a report in the news website reachforthewall.com, USA Swimming has decided to sit out the YOG, preferring to send its swimmers to meets to qualify for the senior and junior Pan Pacific Championships next year.
USA Swimming said it volunteered to pull out. However, no snub was intended.
They decided not to go because of the cap of eight swimmes (four boys and four girls) imposed on each participating country. They also felt that the YOG was more a ‘world-peace and educational programme’ than it is about ‘high-level compettion’.
The US Olympic Council also revealed that some other national bodies will not be competing at the YOG including cycling and shooting.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan
Here is the report from reachforthewall.com:
US swimmers to sit out inaugural Youth Olympics
By Amy Shipley
USA Swimming is devoting unprecedented resources to its youth national team, but you won’t see a single U.S. swimmer in Singapore next August for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games, a grand, global event designed to mimic the real Olympic Games for boys between ages 16-18 and girls 15-17.
With the expectation that the first Youth Games would be more about promoting friendship and peace than real competition, and knowing the U.S. Olympic Committee would not be able to send athletes in every sport because of caps on delegation size, USA Swimming offered to sit out the global event, USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus said.
“The Youth Olympics … is really set up more as a world-youth peace and educational program than it is as a high-level competition,” Wielgus said. “We went to the USOC and said we would volunteer not to go … We’ve invested heavily in our youth team. We have a four-year plan for our youth team program, and this meet is not part of that plan.”
No snub, Wielgus said, was intended.
Wielgus said USA Swimming would direct its elite youngsters to seek qualification for either the senior Pan Pacific Championships in Irvine, Calif., in August, or the junior Pan Pacs in Maui, Hawaii. Many youth team members are also expected to compete in the Mel Zajac Jr. Swim Meet next May in Vancouver, B.C.
Even if USA Swimming wanted to participate in the event conceived by International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, it would be allowed to send only four boys and four girls in swimming as per rules limiting entrants.
And the USOC, which sent more than 600 participants to the Beijing Summer Games, is limited to sending a total of about 100 competitors — 70 individual athletes along with two teams.
Cycling and shooting have also decided not to attend.
“We will have some [national governing bodies] that will not be represented, swimming being one of them,” USOC spokesperson Lindsay DeWall said in an e-mail. “In order to make these difficult decisions, our Sport Partnerships Division worked with each NGB, focusing on their pipeline development. This provided us with greater insight as to which NGBs the [Youth Olympic Games] are more important than others. ”
Last year, USA Swimming allocated $2 million its youth program through 2012 and hired a full-time youth team coach, Jack Roach, to try to increase high-level training and competitive opportunities for its up-and-coming stars.