At least two runners fighting decision that left them off Olympic track team

2012 Olympian Jessica Smith and 5,000m runner Rachel Cliff have appealed their snubs by Athletics Canada. Both made the Olympic standard and would not be taking a spot from another athlete.

Athletics Canada
Athletics Canada
Canada’s Olympic track and field team on July 11. Photo: David McColm.

At least two Canadian runners will be appealing Monday’s Olympic track and field roster announcement. Eligible athletes had 48 hours from July 12 to appeal the decision if they believe they were wrongly left off the Rio team.

RELATED: Complete list of runners on Canada’s Olympic track team.

The Olympic team selection for track is subjective because some athletes who had the Olympic qualifying standard were left off the team. Any runner who finished outside of the top two at the Canadian track and field championships–top two automatically got an athlete onto the Olympic team provided they had run a fast enough time–was subject to a committee’s decision.

Athletics Canada, the national governing body for track and field, is responsible for the team selection.

Jessica Smith confirmed to Canadian Running that she appealed the Olympic team selection. Chris Winter, the husband of Rachel Cliff, Tweeted out this week saying “yes, we are appealing,” implying Cliff is believed to have submitted an appeal. Cliff did not comment on the details.

RELATED: Melissa Bishop fights back tears after dedicating 800m win to her long-time coach.

Winter, who made the Olympic team in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase, also Tweeted out #LetRachelRun, a campaign in support of Cliff making the team. If her omission is overturned, Winter and Cliff would be one of the few married couples to compete for Canada this summer.

RELATED: U.S. Olympic Committee angry over women’s brand Oiselle’s social media photos.

Smith is an 800m runner and Cliff competes in the 5,000m. Both achieved the Olympic standard but finished outside of the top two at the Olympic trials in Edmonton last week. No athletes would be displaced if either athlete were to win an appeal because Canada can send three athletes per event. Only one runner was named to the women’s 800m team and two are currently on the 5,000m squad.

“Due to the extremely short time frame between team nomination and final submission to the Canadian Olympic Committee (July 17), appeals will only be considered if they have been received in writing to the Commissioner’s Office within 48 hours of the official announcement of the team nomination,” reads the criteria.

As per the criteria, a decision must be made by July 17 since a final team submission is required by Sunday. No public list has been released of who submitted an appeal meaning there may have been more than two athletes to have filed.

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