Over the past couple of months, there have been questions concerning how the Union International de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) will qualify athletes for selection to the 2008 Olympic Games. In an attempt to respond to these questions, we reached out to the UIPM. Specifically, we sought clarification of UIPM's Qualification Process, a document that sets forth UIPM's procedures relating to athlete selection for the 2008 Olympic Games. That document may be found on UIPM's website at http://www.pentathlon.org/index.php?id=152.
First, please be advised that the USA Pentathlon 2008 Olympic Athlete Selection Procedures, as amended on January 23, 2008, are unchanged and will be followed by USA Pentathlon in nominating pentathlon athletes for the 2008 Olympic Games Team. Those procedures may be found at http://pentathlon.usoc.org/content/index/723.
As to UIPM's process for qualifying athletes, we requested that UIPM clarify its reallocation process for Continental Championships. We also requested that UIPM explain its procedures for sending out Olympic qualification places, which will occur on June 1 and sometime after June 15, 2008.
On March 25, UIPM responded concerning the Continental Championships that:
If an NOC has an athlete achieving qualification through a Continental Championships and decides not to enter that athlete, they lose that qualification spot as it is reallocated to the next athlete/NOC from that event.
UIPM further explained:
If an NOC has one athlete that has achieved qualification through a Continental Championships but also, in addition, has 2 or more athletes achieving qualification through that World competition/PWR positions, then the NOC can
decide to enter maximum 2 of any of these 3 athletes by whatever means they decide.
On April 8, 2008 UIPM provided us with additional information concerning the process it will follow in sending out Olympic qualification places. As UIPM explained:
On 1 June 2008 UIPM will send the names of those athletes that have qualified through the World Championships (2007 & 2008), World Cup Final 2007, Continental Championships and the PWR list (the first 7 not previously qualified) to their respective NOC. In the cases of those nations (CHN, KAZ, HUN, etc) which have more than two athletes qualified, all names will be sent to their respective National Olympic Committee (NOC).
NOCs will reply to UIPM by 15 June confirming they will or will not enter their qualified athletes in the Games. In the cases of more than two athletes qualified, NOC to confirm the names of the maximum two athletes they will enter.
After June 15 UIPM will reallocate unused spots either to the respective Continental Championships or to the PWR depending on the specific case. The Host nation place and the two Tripartite places, if not taken, will be reallocated to the PWR.
NOCs to confirm acceptance of these re-allocated places.
Therefore, if on June 1, 2008 two or fewer athletes, per gender, qualify and receive an Olympic qualification place from the UIPM, then as per the 2008 Olympic Athlete Selection Procedures, USA Pentathlon will nominate those athletes. If, however, on June 1 there are more than two athletes, per gender, that qualify and receive an Olympic qualification place from the UIPM, then as per the 2008 Olympic Athlete Selection Procedures, USA Pentathlon will nominate the two athletes who have the highest ranking from the 2008 UIPM World Cup Point Standings. Further, so that there is no misunderstanding, if two or more athletes, per gender, qualify from the UIPM on June 1, USA Pentathlon is not required to nominate the athlete who qualified pursuant to the Continental Championship (2007 Pan American Games), unless that athlete is one of the two highest ranking athletes on the 2008 World Cup Point Standings.
Further, on April 8, 2008 UIPM explained that it implements a tie-breaker process to determine its 2008 World Cup Point Standings, in case there two or more athletes tied after the World Cups have concluded. Thus, USA Pentathlon will not be faced with a situation where two US athletes will have the same standing on the 2008 World Cup
Point Standings. UIPM cited Rule 1.21.3 as applicable in implementing its tie-breaker process:
WC Standings Tie breaker
UIPM Rule 1.21.3 World Cup Standing
i) The World Cup Standing List is published after each World Cup and is established by using the PWR points only from World Cup competitions. All competitors at each World Cup competition will be allocated points according to the competitors' placing.
ii) The points table for the World Cup is the same as for the PWR.
iii) In order to be qualified for the World Cup Final the qualification of the best 33 pentathletes is calculated adding the three best results of the World Cup competitions. In case of less than three results, the pentathlete is placed according to the total number of points over one or two competitions. In case of equal points Article 1.21.2 iii) apply, whereby instead of an event a World Cup competition counts.
Further, UIPM offered the following explanatory note:
Example - If in the World Cup Standings two or more pentathletes have accumulated an equal amount of PWR points, the pentathlete who is placed ahead is the one who collected more PWR points in the most recent World Cup.
Finally, UIPM explained in its communication of April 8, 2008, that once a National Olympic Committee ("NOC") confirms which athletes it will nominate from the June 1 list, it can not substitute a different athlete who may receive an invitation after June 15, 2008 from the UIPM based on UIPM's reallocation process. For example, if through the reallocation process, an additional athlete receives an invitation from UIPM, that athlete is only considered a Late Replacement athlete, and cannot be entered into the Olympic Games, unless one of the original two athletes is unable to compete. As explained by UIPM:
A National Reserve is called a Late Replacement athlete. These are athletes that have qualified through the system but because the NOC already has confirmed entry of two athletes, they cannot also be entered into the Games.
The UIPM will confirm Late Replacement athletes as follows - Continental Reserves (can only replace athletes that qualified through the continental championships), National Reserves (can only replace athletes qualified through the global system for the particular nation) and UIPM International Reserves (next highest ranked male and female athlete from NOC with only one or no athlete previously qualified).
If you (NOC) have submitted two athletes and a third comes up in the reallocation of unused quota places, then this athlete can act as a reserve for the athlete qualified through the global system.
We trust this provides a clear understanding of the UIPM's procedures relating to athlete selection for the 2008 Olympic Games. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
cc: Steve Roush, USOC Chief of Sport Performance
Chris Vadala, USOC Senior Director of Sport Partnerships
Bob Gambardella, USOC Director of sport Partnerships
Matt Cramer, USOC Manager of Sport Partnerships
Jill Baker, USOC Coordinator of Sport Partnerships
Lynn Wentland, USOC Performance Selection Administrator
John Ruger, USOC Athlete Ombudsman
Gary Johansen, USOC Associate General Counsel