Athlete Event Selections

Learn about the athlete selection process and review selection documents

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Athlete Selection Process Overview

USA Cycling is responsible for selecting athletes to participate in all Protected Competitions. A Protected Competition is defined in the USOPC Bylaws. Examples of Protected Competitions include Olympic Games, World Championships, Pan Am Games, and Continental Championships. 

Methods of Athlete Selection

Athletes can qualify for Protected Competitions by either automatic selection or discretionary selection. Automatic selection is how an athlete qualifies for Protected Competitions based on results specified in the Athlete Selection Procedures (ASP) for a particular Protected Competition.

The automatic selection criteria are prioritized in the ASP for a Protected Competition. More athletes may meet automatic selection criteria than available quota spots for a Protected Competition. In that case, USA Cycling will follow the relevant ASP to select the athlete(s).

If available quota spots remain after applying the automatic selection criteria, USA Cycling may use discretionary selection to nominate athletes. There are two means of being considered for discretionary selection. An athlete may submit a discretionary petition, or USA Cycling’s Sport Performance staff may nominate an athlete.

USA Cycling’s Sport Performance staff compiles the athlete petitions and nominations and following the Discretionary Selection Procedures (DSP), nominates a final team for approval by the USA Cycling Selection Committee.

Selection Committee

USA Cycling's Selection Committee is the body responsible for reviewing and approving the ASP for Protected Competitions. The Selection Committee also provides oversight of the nomination process by reviewing and approving USA Cycling Sport Performance staff athlete nominations for Protected Competitions.

For automatic selections, the Selection Committee confirms that an athlete meets an automatic selection criterion, that the relevant ASP has been adhered to, and approves their nomination.

For discretionary selections, the Selection Committees reviews the nominations to ensure the proper application of the DSP and either approves or remands the nominations back to the Sport Performance staff for further consideration.

The Selection Committee is composed of six to eight volunteers, including at least one-third Athlete Representatives as required by the USOPC Bylaws. Selection Committee members are recommended by USA Cycling’s Chief of Sport Performance and CEO. Athlete Representatives on the Selection Committee are approved by USA Cycling’s Athletes’ Advisory Council.

All Selection Committee members must meet the following requirements:

  • Member must have participated in an Olympic Games or been employed as a professional in one of the Olympic cycling disciplines;
  • Athlete Representatives meet the USOPC’s Athlete eligibility requirements;
  • Member must not be currently employed as a team director;
  • Member must not be currently coaching athletes who are actively competing at the elite international level;
  • Member must agree to abide by USA Cycling’s Principles of Ethical Conduct and Conflict of Interest Policy, declare all potential, actual, and perceived conflicts of interest, and comply with the recommendations of USA Cycling’s Ethics Committee regarding the mitigation of conflicts.

The current USA Cycling Athlete Selection Committee is:

Timothy Duggan2012 Olympic Games Team member; 2012 US Pro Road Race Champion; past professional athlete, athlete rep
Eric RupeNine time BMX World Champion; 17 time BMX National Champion
Donny Robinson2008 Olympic Games Team Member and Bronze Medal Winner in BMX; 2001 UCI Jr. Men & Jr. Cruiser World Champion
Christine Thorburn2004 & 2008 Olympic Games Team Member; 2006 UCI World Time Trial Championship Bronze Medalist
Adam Duvendeck2004 & 2008 Olympic Games Team Member; 2x U.S. National Champion (2004 Team Sprint & 2006 Keirin)
Jan Bolland Tanner1991 TTT Pan Am Games Gold Medalist; 1992 TTT World Champion; 1995 U.S. National Cyclocross Champion
Stephen EttingerMountain Bike National Champion and Pan American Games athlete 

Conflict of Interest Policy

All members of the Selection Committee and USA Cycling Sport Performance staff participating in a selection must comply with USA Cycling’s Principles of Ethical Conduct and Conflict of Interest Policy. The Conflict of Interest Policy requires completing a disclosure form submitted for review by USA Cycling's independent Ethics Committee before convening the committee. USA Cycling’s Ethics Committee shall review disclosed conflicts and determine the conflicted individual’s appropriate level of involvement (e.g., whether that individual must recuse themself from participating in discussions and/or voting). For example, if it is determined that an individual must recuse themself from voting, the Ethics Committee may still determine that an individual who has relevant and necessary information concerning athlete performance, for example, a USA Cycling Sport Performance staff member, may, if requested by the Selection Committee, provide such information to the Committee so long as such information is provided in a fair and unbiased manner and so long as the conflicted individual does not vote toward the final decision. The conflicted individual must not otherwise influence other Selection Committee members in the selection process.

Additionally, any person (including any potentially impacted athlete or coach of a potentially impacted athlete) with a good faith belief that a Selection Committee Member or USA Cycling staff member has a conflict of interest may report the alleged conflict of interest to USA Cycling’s Ethics Committee by emailing USA Cycling does not tolerate retaliation in any way against a person who, in good faith, reports an alleged conflict of interest.

Discretionary Selection Procedures

USA Cycling is responsible for selecting athletes to participate in all Protected Competitions. Athletes can qualify for Protected Competition by meeting automatic criteria or, where quota spots remain after application of automatic criteria, through discretionary selection criteria. 

Discretionary Selection Criteria

The following criteria are considered in priority order A through D when making discretionary selections for Protected Competitions. Criterion B is only considered for team-based events. Time periods listed below look back from the deadline date for athlete discretionary petitions.

  • Medal Capable Athletes – A medal capable athlete has clearly demonstrated the ability to produce a medal winning result in the competition for which the athlete is being selected by achieving one of the following criteria:
    • Winning a medal (top 3 finish) in the past 24 months at the World Championships or Olympic Games and demonstrating the continuing ability to perform at that level or higher based on results and performances in Top Level Competition* in the past 12 months; or,
    • Beating the previous year’s World Championship or Olympic medalists or the current top-ranked UCI Elite athletes in Top Level Competition on courses similar to the event that the athlete is being selected for on multiple occasions in the past 12 months.

* A Top Level Competition is one that includes participation by many of the best riders in the world (e.g., as indicated by recent World Championship results, World Cup results and/or current UCI rankings).

  • Athletes Who Maximize Team Performance – For Road Race, Team Pursuit, Team Sprint, and Madison it is necessary to select the best team and not necessarily the best individual athlete(s). Team chemistry and the ability of an athlete to fulfill a specific role on the team are vital for success. For example, the Road Race event is scored individually but requires a team of athletes to work together and execute a team strategy so the designated leader(s) can achieve the best result possible. Meanwhile, Team Pursuit, Team Sprint and the Madison on the track are scored as a team, and rely on the careful assembly of a team that will work together to achieve the best result possible. Subjective judgment is required to select the athletes who will work together as an effective team and contribute to the execution of USA Cycling’s strategy for team success or a team leader’s success. Where reasonable, USA Cycling will use objective measures to support subjective judgments under this criterion.
  • Future Medal Capable Athletes – An athlete who is future medal capable has the potential to produce a medal-winning result within three years at a World Championship or Olympic Games by demonstrating a recent trend of improving performance in Top Level Competition or training.
  • Furtherance of USA Cycling’s High Performance Plan Goals - If quota positions remain after the application of the criteria above, athletes may be selected to support the event strategy and/or goal(s) outlined in the relevant ASP.

Data to Support Discretionary Selection Criteria

USA Cycling considers data useful when making discretionary selections. An athlete’s discretionary selection petition must be accompanied by credible data relevant to the Protected Competition to which the athlete is seeking nomination. Below are examples of relevant data. This list is neither exclusive nor mandatory.

  • For all criteria (in no particular order):
    • Times on courses (or portions of courses) of similar length or course profile and/or in similar environmental conditions to the Protected Competition being selected for;
    • Athlete power data;
    • Aerodynamic drag data;
    • Event and specific role demand data.
  • For Athletes Who Maximize Team Performance selections (in no particular order):
    • Demonstrated willingness to work selflessly for team objectives;
    • Demonstrated tactical proficiency;
    • Previous experience fulfilling similar roles;
    • Evidence of ability to meet the physical requirements of the Protected Competition being selected for;
    • Coachability;
    • Ability to enhance team chemistry.
  • For choosing between two or more athletes under the same criterion (other than Medal Capable) (in no particular order):
    • Race results in Top Level Competitions;
    • Head-to-head competition results;
    • Sport Performance staff’s assessment of an athlete’s ability to meet the performance demands of the course and Protected Competition;
    • Sport Performance staff’s assessment of an athlete’s ability to meet the performance demands required to execute USA Cycling’s strategy or race plan.

Athlete Ombuds

Team USA athletes may contact the Office of the Athlete Ombuds for independent and confidential advice on a variety of sport related matters, including their rights, applicable rules, policies or processes, and questions related to resolving disputes and grievances. The Athlete Ombuds can also help Team USA athletes connect with legal counsel or mental health resources if needed. All other NGB athletes (i.e., athletes competing domestically at the masters or youth level, recreational athletes, foreign athletes) are welcome to visit the Athlete Ombuds website to review informational resources and should work directly with their NGB to understand additional resources and options available to them.

Phone: 719-866-5000



Athlete Ombuds Confidentiality and Privacy Policy:

(A)In general.—The Office of the Athlete Ombuds shall maintain as confidential any information communicated or provided to the Office of the Athlete Ombuds in confidence in any matter involving the exercise of the official duties of the Office of the Athlete Ombuds. (B) Exception.—The Office of the Athlete Ombuds may disclose information described in subparagraph (A) as necessary to resolve or mediate a dispute, with the permission of the parties involved. (C) Judicial and administrative proceedings.—(i) In general.—The ombudsman and the staff of the Office of the Athlete Ombuds shall not be compelled to testify or produce evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding with respect to any matter involving the exercise of the duties of the Office of the Athlete Ombuds . (ii) Work product.—Any memorandum, work product, notes, or case file of the Office of the Athlete Ombuds—(I) shall be confidential; and(II) shall not be—(aa) subject to discovery, subpoena, or any other means of legal compulsion; or (bb) admissible as evidence in a judicial or administrative proceeding. (D) Applicability.—The confidentiality requirements under this paragraph shall not apply to information relating to—(i) applicable federally mandated reporting requirements; (ii) a felony personally witnessed by a member of the Office of the Athlete Ombuds;(iii) a situation, communicated to the Office of the Athlete Ombuds, in which an individual is at imminent risk of serious harm; or (iv) a congressional subpoena.

Anti-retaliation Statement

No employee, contractor, agent, volunteer, or member of the NGB or USOPC shall take or threaten action against an athlete as a reprisal for disclosing information to or seeking assistance from the Office of the Athlete Ombuds.

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