Saturday, February 27, 2010

Should Brian McKeever be Left out of Olympics 50k Cross-Country Ski Classic?

Fog settles over Cypress but snowboarders still race the men’s Giant Parallel Slalom qualifiers on way to 16-man final. Hard work and courage cannot be stopped by a little fog.

Fog settled on Canadian Brian McKeever’s eyes, so to speak, leaving him peripheral vision as he was beginning his cross-country ski career. He worked hard, winning golds in the Paralympics and strived for greater and finally qualified for the Olympics 50k cross-country ski race by winning a Noram series 50-K in Canmore last year. One has said that’s just a B series, so doesn’t count. Others have pretty much assumed he’s on Canada’s Olympic men’s team because of a pity selection.

Looking at his  teammates, George Grey, who like McKeever’s four teammates so stellar in these Vancouver 2010 Olympics, last raced 50k in 2008, according to the FIS website. He was DNF in one, 56 in the other. Ivan Babikov’s last 50k was in 2009 at national championships and was 2nd, 1st at Canadian championships in 2008. Alex Harvey, the young un of the ski team, finished 3rd in a World Cup in 2009. Devon Kershaw last skied the 50k and was 7th. He doesn’t race this one often, it looks like. Brian McKeever in 2009 was 1st at Nor-Am and 7th at the Nationals. All the guys who beat him at the 2009 Nationals are not on Canada’s cross-country Olympic ski team. But it’s the times that one can really compare them with each other.

Harvey: 2:03:12.2 in 2009

Kershaw: 2:04:31.8 in 2009

Grey: 2:30:53.4 in 2008

Babikov: 2:22:02.6 in 2008 and 2:30:14.1 in 2009

McKeever: 2:21:08.5 in Nor-Am 2009 and 2:10:07.1 in 2009 Nationals

So. Given McKeever has the freshest legs, has been training for this, and looks like he races the most 50ks of the bunch (from a quick review of their FIS biographies), it does not seem to me he should be the one to be left out of the Olympic 50-K cross-country ski classic. Oh, and one more thing, it looks like being able to race in these Olympics is more than just for honour and country, it also counts towards one’s FIS points.

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