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1996 US Olympic Team controversy - Frank McCormack left out

Oct 6, 2009
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While looking around at results from 1996, trying to answer some questions I have from another thread, I found this article, which reminded me of the controversy surrounding the selection process for the 1996 US Olympic cycling team.

http://www.ltolman.org/93arch/61196.htm

I remember being in Charlotte after the final qualifying races, and the general shock when the Olympic team was announced and Frank McCormack wasn't selected. I remember lots of people asking "Greg who? Who is this guy?" Do any of our insiders have the story about how Greg Randolph came to be selected instead of McCormack? What was his connection to Chris Carmichael?

I remember Randolph riding for Motorola for a little while, but my impression is that it didn't last long - it seemed like kind a cover for the Olympic selection or something. Anybody got any actual info about what went down?

Edit- here's another article with Carmichael's rationale:

http://www.ltolman.org/93arch/62396.htm
 
Jun 19, 2009
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Beech Mtn said:
While looking around at results from 1996, trying to answer some questions I have from another thread, I found this article, which reminded me of the controversy surrounding the selection process for the 1996 US Olympic cycling team.

http://www.ltolman.org/93arch/61196.htm

I remember being in Charlotte after the final qualifying races, and the general shock when the Olympic team was announced and Frank McCormack wasn't selected. I remember lots of people asking "Greg who? Who is this guy?" Do any of our insiders have the story about how Greg Randolph came to be selected instead of McCormack? What was his connection to Chris Carmichael?

I remember Randolph riding for Motorola for a little while, but my impression is that it didn't last long - it seemed like kind a cover for the Olympic selection or something. Anybody got any actual info about what went down?

Edit- here's another article with Carmichael's rationale:

http://www.ltolman.org/93arch/62396.htm

Greg rode an incredible, clean TT and solid rides in the other qualifiers. He was selected over Horner and McCormack as he was expected to chase for LA. The others were apparently not trustworthy in LA's eyes. As it turned out Greg was stronger than LA, got better results in his first US Pro race than the other Motorola boys. He and Frankie Andreu covered every move at the Olympic RR for LA who then boned his opportunity.

Carmichael had no direct connection to him and I'm not sure Greg trusted him. Ochowisz was the Motorola DS and he was left to race his tenure with them clean. I would leave it to him to describe what happened after that but he was the real deal and the other pros knew it.

The unfortunate politics excluded both Horner and McCormack and packed the team with sympatico domestiques.
 
Oct 6, 2009
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Thanks for the info, Oldman. I always wondered what the deal was with Randolph - I knew he went to Motorola and did well in Philly, but then never really heard anything else out of him. I didn't even know whether he stayed with Motorola for very long, or was dropped after the Olympics or what happened.
 
May 21, 2009
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Funny that Horner now rides for LA on the Shack team. In 1996, no one was on the same level on the domestic scene, including McCormack.

Randolph never, ever came close to deserving that ride. Besides Horner and McCormack there were others more deserving. Randolph's road career was short and sweet, and was immediately followed by a somewhat decent XC MTB career. After a few years as a pro on that circuit, he now writes, poorly, for whichever dirt magazine will pay him.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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bikerecker said:
Funny that Horner now rides for LA on the Shack team. In 1996, no one was on the same level on the domestic scene, including McCormack.

Randolph never, ever came close to deserving that ride. Besides Horner and McCormack there were others more deserving. Randolph's road career was short and sweet, and was immediately followed by a somewhat decent XC MTB career. After a few years as a pro on that circuit, he now writes, poorly, for whichever dirt magazine will pay him.

Randolph received follow-up endorsement by Horner, himself. The fact that he could drop most Motorola's in a TTT was the test of his talent. His choices with respect to prolonging his road career were his own and thoughtfully made. Remember that his first pro win came when he dropped two Telekom teammates from a break and soloed in. Those two were Udo Bolts and Jan Ullrich. Not surprisingly Telekom offerred him a contract when domestic teams, still stinging from the Carmichael selection; chose not to offer him a contract.
He is now the marketing director for Smith Optics and has a nice and very atheletic family.
I would suggest you talk to: LA, Ivan Basso, George Hincapie, Frankie Andreu, Steve Hegg, Levi Leipheimer and any other pro you hold in reverence and ask their opinion. You may find their input more enlightened than the opinion you currently hold.
 
Apr 2, 2010
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I remember that issue. I raced the Fitchburg Stage Race in '96 and recall the buzz surrounding the team selection.

When it comes to selecting an Olympic or World's team, it is not about picking the best 7 or 8 guys but picking 1 or 2 guys who you think has the best chance of winning and building the team around him/them.

If I recall correctly, Australia will be for the sprinters. The US will want Farrar and a lead-out train. Levi, Chris H., Danielson, etc. will stay home.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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Cooper said:
I remember that issue. I raced the Fitchburg Stage Race in '96 and recall the buzz surrounding the team selection.

When it comes to selecting an Olympic or World's team, it is not about picking the best 7 or 8 guys but picking 1 or 2 guys who you think has the best chance of winning and building the team around him/them.

If I recall correctly, Australia will be for the sprinters. The US will want Farrar and a lead-out train. Levi, Chris H., Danielson, etc. will stay home.

Yes, but in this particular instance a coach with a meal-ticket hijacked the process to insure his candidate had the best outcome for them (Carmichael and LA). LA did not come through although the riders that were chosen performed very well. The point that several winning contenders should have been part of the strategy is correct. Frank McComack may or may not have been that guy. Politics and profit. LA and Carmichael are wealthy; the rest are probably happy and well-adjusted.
 

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