**UPDATE: According to the USATF rule book (Rule 8(1)(a)), Goucher is allowed entry to the national championships given her medal at the 2007 World Championships. The entire stipulation says, “During the current or four previous calendar years, earned an individualvmedal in track and field in an Olympic Games or in an IAAF World Indoor or Outdoor Championship.” We apologize for the error.
Despite public statements about running the 10,000 meters at the USA Championships in late June, Kara Goucher has yet to run the time standard needed to qualify for the race, according to Running Times. The author goes on to speculate whether Goucher will apply to an exemption that will allow her to participate, similar to what her husband Adam did to run the 10k at the 2008 Olympic Trials.
Thus far, no one has questioned Goucher’s qualifications for the race. After all, she is the 2007 World bronze medalist for 10k and has run a 2:24 marathon in Boston just two months ago coming off the birth of her son Colt. Goucher’s presence in the race along with the likes of Shalane Flanagan, Jen Rhines and Lisa Koll will certainly spice things up and make the World team even harder to make.
However, the principles of fairness and transparency are why Goucher should not receive a free pass to nationals.
What makes Goucher so much more special any the aspiring elite runner seeking to qualify for the USA Championships? Running is a sport that prides itself on transparency since performances can be judged objectively by looking at times. Basketball fans can argue all day long about whether Kobe or LeBron is the better player, but track athletes can be easily compared by who ran the better time on a particular day. The use of something as simple as a descending order list gives championship meets more legitimacy than invitational competitions that invite a subjective group of runners.
The use of such an exemption for yet another Alberto Salazar-trained runner is questionable as well. It is clear that USA Track & Field is in the pocket of Nike, which provides the non-profit organization with millions of dollars of funding on an annual basis. Allowing Kara to run above those who have actually earned qualifying marks will prove the corruption and favoritism by John Chaplin and the USATF elite athlete coordinators.
Read more here about prior transgressions by Chaplin regarding entry sizes to U.S. championship competitions.
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