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US bobsledder calls Olympic selections 'corrupt'

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 19, 2014 at 2:39 am •  Published: February 19, 2014
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KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — A U.S. bobsledder who was not chosen for the Sochi Games calls the selection process "corrupt" and questions why Lolo Jones received a spot on the women's Olympic roster.

Chuck Berkeley, who made the 2010 Vancouver Games team and was on the World Cup roster this season, said the teams for Sochi were chosen based largely on an athlete's popularity. He added that some sliders were favored over others with better credentials and that the USA-3 women's sled Jones is pushing at the Olympics would fare better with someone else in her spot.

"I get that people want to latch on to a media sensation and run wild," Berkeley told The Associated Press, referring to Jones. "But it comes down to this: There are athletes who deserve to be there who are not there, on the women's and the men's sides. And you have to ask yourself why is that the case. What is wrong with the selection process? Why is it flawed? Why is it corrupt?"

After hearing of Berkeley's remarks, U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation CEO Darrin Steele told AP on Wednesday that he stands by the team selections. He also noted how certain athletes who did not get picked for Olympic spots, like Katie Eberling, were able to accept roles as alternates and help the team in Sochi.

Eberling's omission was pointed out in a tweet by Berkeley on Tuesday night, where he said that the USA-3 sled would be better if she was in the second seat. Berkeley did not mention Jones in that tweet, though the jab toward Jones — always a lightning rod for critics — was thinly veiled at best.

"From my personal experience with Lolo, she's had a very bad attitude," Berkeley said.

He tweeted that he hoped the "marketing dollars" were worth the decision to put Jones on the Olympic team, though later clarified to AP that he thinks the attention the two-time Summer Olympian has brought bobsledding is a good thing.

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