The press was all over it at the Olympics, but chances are you will never hear them follow up with what happened afterwards…
Sarah Hammer, Booby Lea, Jennie Reed and Mike Friedman are four cyclists I’ve written about recently. They were humiliated by the United States Olympic Committee when they were publicly harassed by the Organization for wearing carbon filtration masks in Beijing provided and recommended by the USOC’s own physicians. In my last Blog about them, I suggested the USOC owed the riders a public apology.
Well, it wasn’t public – or at least did not garner even a blip of attention from the press compared to the incident itself - but Cyclingnews.com is reporting this morning that USOC Chief Executive, Jim Scherr sent an apology in the form of a letter to each of the four cyclists saying that there was “confusion or a misunderstanding.” A spokesman for the USOC went further to say the situation could have been handled better.
Quoting Sarah Hammer from the article, “They treated us like we were just stupid athletes and like we didn’t matter.” Sarah, I think you all proved in your handling of this debacle that you are far from just stupid athletes. Your approach was respectful, dignified, calculated, mature, and successful. It’s just too bad the USOC couldn’t have shown the same poise in the masked face of adversity.