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Anonymous donor sparks USA Cycling Olympic Development Track Program

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Anonymous donor sparks USA Cycling Olympic Development Track Program

Old 02-04-19, 11:40 AM
  #26  
queerpunk
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like, i get it, everyone wishes that the USA were GB or AUS. and USAC has definitely wandered the wasteland in this area. a few years ago i was looking around thinking "i wonder if it would be possible to go to the Pan Am Champs, i don't even know how one gets selected" or "Wow, they sent Rogers to Worlds, if I have a good season could I get sent too?" It was opaque as hell and if there was support it was on an extremely one-off basis.

But since then USAC has put in a solidly-funded good faith effort to change that. There's a dedicated effort, funding, written criteria, and a steady stable of supported athletes. And, they're getting results. I think it's worth it to take a look at the members, and the results, and concede that something's moving in the right direction.
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Old 02-04-19, 12:03 PM
  #27  
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$25,000 is a stipend to cover travel and equipment. Itís not a salary with benefits.

One can make more than $25,000 USD working part time as a waiter. Thatís below the poverty line. Thatís not a living wage.

I appreciate the progress. I really do. But, Iím still gonna b*tch until they get paid a decent amount.
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Old 02-04-19, 12:34 PM
  #28  
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Carleton, I'm not sure if you're trying to deliberately misrepresent the info that's out there, or what. $25k isn't a "stipend to cover travel and equipment." It's cash, full travel support is a whole other line item, and riders get equipment. It's more than most domestic pro road contracts, and it has attracted road talent, which is what we were talking about, right?

Personally, I also think everybody deserves a living wage, but that wasn't what we were talking about and I'm not sure I can keep up with the goalposts as fast as you can move 'em. We were talking about whether or not USAC supports fast people. And the bottom line is that in the past few years, USAC has come a long way from the privateer model that defined much of its recent history in international track racing. A good way to see this would be to look at USA's world cup and world champ starts going back to, oh, i dunno, 2012 (should be long enough to see a trend) and see how the last two years compare. Let me know what you find.
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Old 02-04-19, 02:01 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by queerpunk View Post
Carleton, I'm not sure if you're trying to deliberately misrepresent the info that's out there, or what. $25k isn't a "stipend to cover travel and equipment." It's cash, full travel support is a whole other line item, and riders get equipment. It's more than most domestic pro road contracts, and it has attracted road talent, which is what we were talking about, right?
My bad. You are right.

Now that fights and hotels are covered, with $25,000 in cash/year, an athlete is still making less money than a waiter/waitress (who doesn't have to travel and stay in hotels). Still. Under. The. Poverty. Line.

Originally Posted by queerpunk View Post
Personally, I also think everybody deserves a living wage, but that wasn't what we were talking about ...
That's exactly what I was talking about.

I don't care where the money comes from. Back in Team USA's heyday, it seems like most of the money came from private companies (EDS, VW, etc...).



I'm sorry, man. But, after the fun and allure of track racing has faded for an athlete, there is no way that the chance (not guaranteed) of earning $25,000/year is worth training that much. Not when they can get a guaranteed wage or salary working a day job.

I know you read the interview with Bobby Lea where he laid bare his financial situation. He is, hands down, one of the most accomplished US trackies ever. He never won an Olympic medal, but he won several Pan-Am titles. He basically finished an illustrious career being "the guy to beat" in every US race...in debt.

Last edited by carleton; 02-04-19 at 02:02 PM. Reason: is, not was
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Old 02-04-19, 02:16 PM
  #30  
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Looks like housing also is included for those individuals, which adds value to that $25k.

And I want to add, my first job out of grad school did not pay much more than that - And I only made more than $25k because I had my masters. I also turned down a job for $19k a year - in 2003.
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Old 02-04-19, 02:24 PM
  #31  
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Oh, I guess I was responding to your point that people were getting there on their own; your point that the National Team system was cryptic; your point that there's no path to get support; your point that the fastest bike racers aren't on an Olympic path; and your point that the track program's problem is that it has not attracted talent from road racing.

Lea is a great example. The National Team program wasn't around when he was racing. I've often wondered if he feels a twinge of regret that it started after he finished - if he thinks he could have done more with the support they're offering now. maybe i'll reach out and ask him.
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Old 02-04-19, 04:48 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
I appreciate the progress. I really do. But, Iím still gonna b*tch until they get paid a decent amount.
Where does the money come from? Unlike other countries, there is no direct gov't support or lottery funding for Olympic Sports athletes.

If you donate the funds to the USA Cycling Foundation, then they can increase their direct support for athletes. Here's their website where you can make your contribution:

https://www.usacycling.org/foundation

If you know where there is piles of free sponsorship money sitting around, then contact Tim Johnson at the USACF where I'm sure he would be eager to put it to good use.

This Junior Development Track program was initiated through funding from an anonymous donor. Was it you?
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Old 02-06-19, 06:18 PM
  #33  
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Another big thing is INSURANCE. You'd be surprised with how many people race despite lacking health insurance. That's actually a pretty big perk for Gold and Silver level support from USAC.

I think one big flaw in the current incentive base system is that you pretty much have to be World Class (i.e, medal capable) to receive substantial support. It really leaves out the some incredible athletes who are just developing. I was talking to Ashton Lambie's wife and the TP team just finally qualified for a stipend and health insurance. I know that USAC isn't swimming in money and we should understand that the US team is really just a bunch of dedicated athletes making do with what they have.
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Old 02-15-19, 02:58 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by tobukog View Post
I think one big flaw in the current incentive base system is that you pretty much have to be World Class (i.e, medal capable) to receive substantial support....
This is part of my point. One has to already be a world class athlete in order to make the most basic of a living.

This is like Boeing telling college engineering graduates, "Work on your own for free for 10-15 years and invent something we can sell, then if it sells, we will hire you, say we made you, and pay you an entry level salary (less than our receptionists make). Only those who invent something....that we can sell. Be better than literally every other engineer in the country and better than most other engineers in the world."

Who would pursue engineering with those odds? Only those who truly love it...and can afford to suffer the lost wages that they could be making elsewhere.



EDIT:

I mean, this is pretty much how the music and modeling industries work...but they pay a lot more at the top. And even so, I still would not urge any friends or family to pursue careers in those fields. For fun, yes. Career, no.

Last edited by carleton; 02-15-19 at 03:06 AM.
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