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Jewell's meddling rival tries to knock him off team?


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Jewell has medal dream, meddling rival tries to knock him off team

By Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa

Thursday, January 26, 2006 - Updated: 03:23 AM EST

A sore-loser snowboarder, left out in the cold by the U.S. Olympic team, has filed an appeal saying he — not Sudbury rider Tyler Jewell — should represent the United States in the Winter Games next month.

But family and friends of Jewell — the only Alpine snowboarder on the U.S. team — said he won the slot fair and square and deserves to go to Torino over Chris Klug, a former bronze medalist with a slew of big-bucks sponsors.

“Tyler’s not the villain here,” said Jean Jewell of Sudbury, Tyler’s mom. “He’s been working and trying and chasing this dream for six years. He literally dug ditches to pay for his own training. He’s just a great kid and I’m really proud of him.”

Klug’s grievance will be heard before the American Arbitration Association in Denver today. Klug is charging that the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) did not follow its selection rules when it named Jewell, 27, to the team Sunday.

“I’m shocked they named Tyler and not me,” Klug told the Aspen Times. “I feel they picked the wrong guy. I’m confident they’ll reverse the decision.”

Jewell’s mom said she doesn’t believe Klug, who was a feel-good story from the 2002 Olympics because he won the bronze medal after getting a liver transplant in 2000, is targeting Tyler personally. But she thinks his appeal is on a slippery slope.

“I’m sure whoever got the spot he would file a grievance because he wants to go to the Olympics,” she said. “You can’t blame him for that.”

But Jewell said her son, who moved out West after graduating from Boston College in 1999 to pursue his snowboarding dream, earned the trip to Torino despite the fact that he didn’t train with the U.S. team and has virtually no sponsors.

“He paid for all his own training,” she said. “He dug ditches for a cement plant in Oregon. He sold sausages at county fairs. He worked for a catering company. The only sponsor he has is Welch’s grape juice ’cause they’re in Concord. But that didn’t stop him.”

No, in fact, Jewell spent last summer living in a $29 tent in Colorado to save the $750 a month he would have spent in rent. He had no electricity, no running water and ate his meals in a hospital because the food was nutritious and cheap.

“He literally lives out of his car,” his dismayed mom said, “to save money to train in the winter.”

Klug, by comparison, was funded for the entire year and has a slew of sponsors including Vermont’s Burton snowboards, Saturn cars, his hometown mountain Aspen/Snowmass and a pharmaceutical company, Astellas.

“Whatever happens I’ve got no regrets,” Klug wrote on his Web site. “I gave it my all, I rode with heart and did my best and that’s all you can ask. I could have used a lucky break here or there, but that’s racing sometimes.”

Jewell, who was en route to Denver for today’s hearing, couldn’t be reached.

The USSA selects the Olympic team through a convoluted system of ranking and race finishes. Snowboard racers are judged first on their finishes in World Cup events, then on their standing in the world rankings.

According to results on the International Skiing Federation Web site, Klug has not finished higher than 15th in a parallel giant slalom event this season. Jewell has a ninth-place finish.

In the USSA selection criteria, Jewell’s higher finish would carry more weight than the fact that Klug is ranked three spots higher than Jewell in the latest points list put out by FIS.

The 16 snowboarders selected for the Olympic team include both male and female riders from three disciplines — halfpipe, parallel giant slalom and snowboardcross. The USSA can divvy the spots however it sees fit and makes most decisions based on medal chances. Jewell is the only parallel GS rider on the team.

USSA spokesman Tom Kelly said the organization would have no comment while the case was under review. Do stay tuned.

Here's the pic:

jewelldg01262006.jpg

I say "LET TYLER RIDE."

Let the flaming begin.

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Tyler won the spot because you average your two best World Cup Results using the FIS point scale. Klug Lost by 25 Points

The average of your FIS Points has ALLWAYS been the way US Snowboarding has averaged results and handed out World Cup starts or Olympic Starts. The entire team knows that.

When you read the text document for the selection criteria is says average of your best two results.

Chris Klug is arguing that USSA should be averaging the place result (meaning 15th and 16th) giving Klug 15.5 which beats Tyler's 9th and 24st = 16.5

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IMO, the worst part of this whole thing is the US has one spot available for Men's alpine racing. Klug & Jewell should both be there representing our country.

A country can only send 16 riders. If we were to send another alpine rider we would have to take a spot away from another event. Should we not send a half piper when we swept the podium last Olympics and we are always threat. Or should we not send a boarder cross rider, when we've had five different guys stand on the world cup podium this season. Or we could not send Lindsay Jacabelous, but then again she is the world champ with world cup wins this season.

Straight up we lage behind in alpine compared to how we ride in other disaplains.

Klug isn't evil because he has backing, he's evil because he is using it to try to take away something that someone has worked very hard to get and is riding faster. The stories are true about Tyler living in a tent. He has worked harder than any other rider in the US and he has earned his spot.

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http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20060125/DAILYCOMMENT/101250020

So now we have the Massachusetts editorial and the Aspen editorial.

Jeff Greenwood above makes some good points that make a very strong case for Jewell. Unfortunately, the selection rules from the USSA site are ambiguous - the term "results" could mean either points or placing. However if "everybody knows" it's supposed to be points and not placing, then Tyler's case gets stronger. Whatever happens I hope that both of them can go because it's bunk that two women get to go but only one man. Furthermore it's bunk that 13 freestylers go and only 3 racers.

Here are the selection rules from the USSA site, as posted earlier by Phil Fell:

c) Objective Criteria PGS

Nomination of (2) athletes: Up to two (2) athletes per gender in Parallel Giant Slalom will be nominated to the team as follows:

1. Up to two (2) Parallel Giant Slalom athletes per gender who have had a top four (4) finish in World Cup Competition during the selection period will be named to the Olympic Team. If more than two (2) athletes in either gender have had a World Cup top four (4) result then ties will be broken as follows:

A. Highest single finish in World Cup competition during the selection period. If still tied then

B. Second highest finish in World Cup competition during the selection period. If still tied then

C. Highest World Ranking during the selection period from the 2005/06 World Cup ranking list within the relevant discipline.

2. If no athletes were selected in #1 above then one (1) athlete per gender will be selected using an average of the top two (2) World Cup results during the selection period in the relevant discipline. Ties will be broken as follows:

A. Single highest World Cup finish during the selection period

B. Third best result (World Cup finishes during selection period)

C. Fourth best result (World Cup finishes during selection period)

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Klug isn't evil because he has backing, he's evil because he is using it to try to take away something that someone has worked very hard to get and is riding faster. The stories are true about Tyler living in a tent. He has worked harder than any other rider in the US and he has earned his spot.

I'm in total agreement. And by association, Burton and Klug's other sponsors are now evil.

Hopefully, Klug doesn't hire some thugs to smack Tyler's leg with a lead pipe. Remember the figure skating incident :AR15firin

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What's really bunk is that we send 19 Alpine Skiers (not counting Freestyle and Nordic skiers) for 4 events (5 if you count the Combined) and only 16 snowboarders, including both Alpine and Freestyle. Talk about gettin no respect. Yet in last Olympics skiers got like 2 medals and snowboarders ruled (well, not alpine, but you get the idea). If all we really cared about was medals, we'd probably send an additional BX rider and no alpine guys. Its f'd all the way around.

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They won't take out a boardercross rider to make place for an alpine rider for the olympics this year. All the sbx riders have podiumed, none of the alpine riders have. It sucks that we can only bring 16 but thats the way it is, and it seems to me that Jewell got the spot and Klug should put up with it. But I don't know fis rules and I don't know what the situation really is.

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Guest Bulldog

I am not a snowboarder so I apologize for intruding on this forum but the subject is of interest to me, you guys are all passionate about your sport which is great. Although I am not an expert with regard to the scoring system for all this, I don't think it takes an expert to figure out that what's going on here. To reiterate the last couple of posts, this is nothing more than an attempt by someone using semantics of the way the rules were written in the most disingenuous of ways to get them self ahead. Hopfully for klug when the dust settles he is not remembered for this but for the great career he had.

I have been fortunate enough to know Tyler for a long time and can't begin to articulate the sacrifices he has made over the years to make a commitment to the sport he loves. I'm not talking about waxing a snowboard, running laps or doing push ups, it goes much beyond that. His commitment, dedication, perseverance, determination...<WBR>....all nothing short of admirable. The simple fact that Klug knows Tyler and is still pursuing this collusion with his agent and lawyers or whatever dream team he's got, speaks volumes to his character and it doesn't speak well. "Charachter can be defined by what you do when nobody is watching"...Well if this is what Klug does with the whole world watching.....Well you can draw your own conclusion from here.

I wish Tyler the best.....Tuck and Go man tuck and go!!

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Guest dragon fly jones

Just general information being passed around. Some news types are on the payroll in the western US.

Hey Michelle Kwan's decision is coming in the morning also, now that will be a barn burner.

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If all we really cared about was medals, we'd probably send an additional BX rider and no alpine guys. Its f'd all the way around.

We can't send anymore male SBX riders. The max per gender per event is four and we are sending four guys. And Leslie hasn't performed well enough on the World Cup to show medal potential to take her over a PGS guy.

The lame thing about all this is that Klug absolutly knew Tyler was getting the spot before it was officially announced. And then he tells the media he was surprised.

If you want to get even deeper into this whole mess keep reading, if you don't look away. The last events before they announced the Olympic Team was the Half Pipe events in New Jersey. If Lindsay Jacabelious did well enough in these and qualified for half pipe she would take one quota spot, but compete in two disaplains. That would free up a spot. This extra spot would go to either Leslie Olsen for ladies SBX or to Klug for guys PGS. Klug knew this. He knew the half pipe results at breakfast in Switzerland. I've never known a guy racer to keep track of womens half pipe results so closely. My bet would be if Lindsay did get the half pipe spot and USSA gave Leslie the Olympic nod, Klug would be in court with her right now. He know well ahead of time Tyler was getting the spot and had lawyers in place if Lindsay didn't get the half pipe spot.

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great insight philfell. I know Klug has a great story and Jewell does as well. I reallt think Jewell is on the way up right now while Klug although still a great rider has lost the edge (only in comparision to Jewell) Tyler you are the man bring home the gold

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Guest dragon fly jones

Well - I am just dismayed. I have no idea which way this will go and at this point I am not sure that I can muster the strength to comment anymore. The comparison of Skiing to snowboarding is apples and oranges in terms of team size, funding and world cup spots.

This reminds me of the Mountain Bikers in the last summer games, everyone wanted to go but only a few had results on the womens side, no one chased points on the world cup ($$$) they all raced the Norba's (no $$$) better for North American sponsors, then they realized ohh no we gotta go around the world 3 times to make the Olys, even the language in the US Cycling criteira was vague, much like the loose interpetations for snowboarding. I never thought I would see another one of these. Riders suing riders, federations that wrote the rules, sitting back and letting disinterested parties decide the fates of two people in it's program(s), that it hardly supports by the way, it is just so darned silly. You can see the lines drawn in the sand here between Klug and Jewell (this will create a huge rift in the sport not just between those two) with comments flying around ( we'll see what happens).

I find Klug disengenous in his statements in interviews and on his website. Where he says "he has no regrets" and "that he did his best" and "that's racing sometimes" that could represent the best in sportsmanship - however it appears that he had other plans, which is sad, not to say he did not work hard, travel, train etc just as Tyler did. Who is more deserving? The pauper or the Prince? I'll let the "trusted arbitration panel" decide that.

As I am no longer desiring of having express ideas or thoughts on wordy battle about a fight that none of us have a material stake in (we may or may not know them). Sure we have our favorites and passions can and will be inflamed over this which ever way it goes. Say Klug get's it, goes and crashes the opinion will swing one way or if Tyler goes and crashes it will again swing back to the what if's and other questions that cannot be answered (only rampant conjecture). Or if they go and win or get a medal the same debate with different points of view will rage on regardless.

I am sure he (we are) is lucky in that this is a "fringe" part of snowboarding ( no major media pick ups yet) now, however, if he wins the light shone on Alpine snowboarding, USSA, Tyler, Klug and the USOC will find the situation(wording, thought processes and the inevitable conclusions) it has wrought will not be favorable on us in general. For all his promotion of/for the betterment of our sport this will (could if your on the pessimistic side) be a self inflicted would that could be fatal.

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Well, even though not my country, it sure is interesting to see this play out; my cousin was in a similar situation in summer olympics, and chose not to fight out in court even though he probably would have won. Sometimes friendship and honour should come ahead of scrapping. He and the bronze medalist who went in his place are best friends. Neither of them wrote the rules or chose who would go; they honoured the decision though.

Phil Fell, you seem like you follow racing on the courses themselves; do you realistically think either of these guys are strong medal contenders, and if you had to pick, who would you say are the likely top 5 men we should be watching?

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