The Olympics are still out another year after a coronavirus postponement, but there is plenty to be excited about. USA Cycling revealed the men’s and women’s mountain bike long teams, along with road and track cycling. Athletes are still eligible to make the teams until May 2021.
World Cup XCO dominator Kate Courtney was the only American candidate to be placed automatically for the Olympic long team thanks to a 5th place result at the 2019 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Mont-Sainte-Anne. The other top four out of five were not American.
Courtney is one of six automatic Olympic nominations. The US women’s team is currently 2nd as a nation in the Olympic Qualification Rankings. If they can keep the ranking, then two additional members will join Courtney in Tokyo in 2021.
Haley Batten, Lea Davison, Hannah Finchamp, Erin Huck, and Chloe Woodruff will also be on the mountain bike long team.
The men’s USA mountain bike team has two discretionary nominations and with their current ranking, they will have only one other member to add to the final Olympic team.
So far, Christopher Blevins of Durango, Colorado and Keegan Swenson of Park City, Utah will be on the men’s team.
USA Cycling, a member of the UCI and United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee is responsible for selecting athletes to represent the US in the Olympics, World Championships, and Pan-American Championships.
Athletes fall under two types of selection; automatic and discretionary.
“By design, only proven contenders for medaling at the highest level of international competition will meet the automatic selection criteria,” says USAC. Medaling at the most recent World Championships or ranking in the top 5 of the UCI World Cup standings qualify athletes for automatic selection.
Discretionary selection means that USAC selects athletes by using input from USAC coaching staff, but the final results are made by an independent and volunteer selection committee.