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  • Media Watch: Kelly Catlin, New IAAF Olympic Rules



    (ATR) Here's a roundup of reports and reactions to the death of Olympic cyclist Kelly Catlin and the new IAAF qualification changes for Tokyo 2020.

    Kelly Catlin

    Olympic medalist Kelly Catlin died at the age of 23. Catlin's family confirmed that the Olympic cyclist's death was a suicide. A Minnesota native, Catlin was a student at Stanford University pursuing her graduate degree in computational and mathematical engineering.

    Catlin was noted for her silver medal as part of the U.S. women’s pursuit cycling team in 2016 at the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro. In a statement to VeloNews given by her father, Mark Catlin, Catlin remarks on the stunning loss “There isn’t a minute that goes by that we don’t think of her and think of the wonderful life she could of lived.”

    Cindy Boren reports in the Washington Post on some of the concerns about the suicide of Catlin. Boren highlights how Catlin’s family noted that after she sustained a concussion in December, they noticed a change in her behavior. Catlin first attempted suicide in January of this year according to reports, and the suicide attempt led her to withdraw from the 2019 Track Cycling World Championships. The injury Catlin sustained could have possibly led to the mental and physical decline of her health.  Additionally, The Post reports the Catlin family has donated her brain for research to the Veterans Affairs-Boston University-Concussion Legacy Foundation brain bank.

    IAAF Qualification Changes

    Reactions have been mixed after the recent International Association of Athletics Federations announcement on the new qualification system for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.  After meeting in Doha, the IAAF council declared it will solely use its New World Ranking system in order to determine the athletes who qualify.

    Martin Fritz Huber of Outside Magazine noted it would be harder to qualify for the Olympics.

    Paul Chelimo tweeted in regards to the change “If this standard was in effect 2016, I would not be an Olympic Silver medalist or an Olympian.”

    Madeline Kelly of Canadian Running notes how the new system could be a hindrance to runners who are relatively younger and inexperienced compared to established runners.

    Cathal Dennehy of Runner's World notes that runners are used to qualifying based upon a strong performance and notes that athletes are also angry that marathon fields have been cut for Tokyo 2020. 

    According to LetsRun, a website that covers running, the reason for the changes is to make use of the World Ranking System. LetsRun adds that using the system “In theory encourages athletes to compete head to head in important meets, which is something we’re behind.”

    While many athletes have expressed a negative reaction to the changes, some have voiced their support of the IAAF changes. Athlete Nick Willis tweeted the changes will help athletes who normally do not place in the top 20.  

    Reported by Greer Wilson.

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