Skiers Ordered Back on Olympic Team
DENVER (AP) _ Stacey Blumer delivered the good news to her mother by phone.
``She said, `Pack your bags, you’re going to Nagano,‴ Andrea Blumer of Southington, Conn., said Friday night.
Minutes earlier, her daughter, a top-ranked skier from Greenwich, Conn., learned she had won her appeal to be placed on the U.S. Olympic freestyle team.
Blumer, 28, filed the appeal with the Colorado office of the American Arbitration Association on behalf of herself and the two other skiers after she learned Monday the three had not made the team.
An arbitrator ruled Friday that all three should be on the team because the selection process was not fair or clear.
Blumer, seven-time U.S. champion and defending overall World Cup champion, and moguls skiers Jim Moran of Stowe, Vt., and Evan Dybvig of Tunbridge, Vt., were ordered to be put on the team after a two-day arbitration hearing.
U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association officials apparently accepted the ruling by former Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Erickson, the arbitrating judge.
``We feel very strongly, as I know the USOC does, about selecting the athletes who meet high goals in the selection criteria,″ said USSA chief executive officer Bill Marolt. ``But we also have a great respect for the process and we will not only support the decision of the judge, but do everything we can to help these athletes be successful in Nagano.″
Alan Ashley, the association’s vice president of athletics, added, ``Stacey, Evan and Jim are all strong international skiers. They will be an integral part of our team in Nagano.″
Blumer is ranked No. 2 on the U.S. team in women aerials according to World Cup points.
The USSA and the USOC now must convince the International Olympic Committee and the Nagano organizing committee to add the skiers to the Games’ roster, Levinstein said.
Blumer, Moran and Dybvig thought they were going to Nagano, Japan, for the Winter Olympics Feb. 7-22 as part of a 14-member U.S. team. They learned Monday that only 11 of the 14 slots were filled.
Erickson ruled the procedure used to select team members ``constituted an abuse of discretion and denied the complainants a fair and equitable opportunity to be considered for a place on the 1998 Freestyle Olympic Team,″ according to Mark Levinstein, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer representing the skiers.