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Rojo Defends His Louis Luchini Petition
July 18, 2004

Well my online petition asking Louis Luchini to consider removing himself from Olympic consideration has created quite a stir on the message boards.  Let me try to clarify a few points and address the critics. I'm not sure if many of them read the whole actual petition because I clearly stated that I think Louis has a great future and he was well within his rights not to give up his spot. No hard feelings either way, just please consider it.

(I mean in Australia a guy who made the team in one event gave up his spot. This is a far cry from that).

You can read Wejo's views on the petition here.

1) The petition isn't anti Louis Luchini at all.
Most people seem to be outraged as they are viewing the petition as a personal attack on Louis.  It was never meant to be anything of the sort.  I think he's a very promising runner. I can still remember way back in 2000 when my brother went from 29:50 to 28:30 in one year, seeing Luchini on the US 10k list at 28:54 as a freshman in college and just being amazed.   I remember thinking, "That's amazing. I shouldn't be too impressed with Weldon a freshman in college can almost beat him."

2) I agree in principal with people who in principal say the petition should address USATF and not Louis Luchini as the problem I have is with the nominating process and not Mr. Luchini..
 Yes, people are correct when they say the problem I have is with USATF's nominating rules and not Louis Luchini. I'll even agree that it's not exactly pleasant for me to start a petition directed at an individual person. Call it whatever you want - a bit of a cheap shot - but I could think of no other recourse.  I knew damn well that
there is absolutely no way USATF was going to change the rules after the fact and thus that's why I didn't address USATF in the petition (but I plan on contacting them before 2008).  Thus the only way to try to remedy this situation would be to address Louis.

All I'm trying to do is to get Louis to think about the situation a little bit. For all I know, he's not even planning on chasing the A standard. If he doesn't think he's got a legitimate shot, then he should let Bolota have a crack at it, and I started the petition to get him to at least think about.  I said in the petition that he clearly doesn't have to do it, but in my view it would be an incredible gesture on his part.

3) The tone of the petition isn't exactly what I wanted at the beginning. I'm not demanding that he give up his spot, I'm asking that he consider doing it.
I realize that some people are very angry because the petition is written very directly and the wording is a bit too strong at the beginning. I don't think there would be this outrage if I asked him to "think about giving up his spot" which is really all I want instead of demanding that he give up his spot in the beginning. I mean my message board posts promoting the petition says that I'm "asking" him to remove himself - not demanding.

Additionally, I said at the end of the petition that he doesn't have to do it but it would be a great gesture if he did and I wish that same tone appeared at the top of the petition. I mean my last two paragraphs state:

We ask that you do the same - be a true sportsman and acknowledge the fine performance of one of your rivals and let him have a shot at the Olympic Games (The only reason why perhaps you shouldn't do as we are asking is if you really think you are in awesome shape but are just an awful hot weather runner otherwise we can't think of why you'd think you'd have a shot of hitting the A this year).

Thank you for your consideration. No hard feelings either way. You have a great future, but please give it some thought.

Thus if you read the whole petition, I think you'd see that I'm willing to let him give it a crack if he truly honestly believes he's got a legitimate shot at it. I just want him to think about things and consider giving up his spot.

4) Lastly, let me clarify my actual belief as to how the nominating position should work. (I agree with Malmo for the most part)
USATF should list all A qualifiers first, then the order of finish should be honored assuming that one of the 4 people on the list at least has a B standard. If none of the 4 have the B, then the first person with the B should be named (to insure that we send at least 1 person) and then the next 3 finishers.  

There is no reason to have more than one B qualifier on the list (and thus people are right when in saying that it would be great in my world view if Torres also should step aside. In hindsight, if I'd added his name, there wouldn't be an outcry as it wouldn't be viewed as a personal attack).

I honestly can't believe people are against the petition to such a degree. I assume 90% would support having the nominating process as the way I describe it in the paragraph above, and thus would be willing to sign my petition asking Louis to consider it (which is the tone at the end). It's what our American Olympic Trials process has always been about - let the performances at the Trials select the team. The top 3 go regardless of reputation.

I think it's sad that people are viewing this as a personal attack on Louis. The rules aren't great. It's not Louis fault that the nominating process sucks and he clearly doesn't have to step aside. But what's wrong with me asking that he do it? Everyone has a right to voice their opinion.

I'm voicing mine.

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