With astonishment I read this quote last week...
“We continue to invest a significant amount of resources into the support and development of both emerging and elite athletes,” said USA Cycling interim director of athletics Jim Miller. “Looking at Taylor’s recent accomplishments, as well as the many successes of American athletes on the track throughout the last several years, it’s obvious our efforts are yielding results.”
You see young Taylor Phinney won the gold medal in the individual pursuit at the World Championships, then followed that up with a silver in the Kilo time trial. What's even more amazing is that in doing so beat a long standing record that was set with an erstwhile illegal position and during the height of the EPO craze. Oh yeah, btw, he's just turned 18 years old.
Now Taylors success is not of a total surprise to those of us who have been following the sport since B.L. ( before Lance). Taylor's father Davis Phinney was the most successful American racer in terms of total wins, he medaled in the Olympics and he's won stages of the Tour De France include a stage into Bordeaux. And he's the second best of of Taylors two parents. His mother is Connie Carpenter who, in addition to winning the Tour De France Femine and Gold medal in the Olympic RR, participated in the Winter Olympics as a speed skater and upon retirement became an NCAA champion rower.
Despite the bru-haha and expressions to the contrary, what made people most upset about Jimmy the Greeks drunken banter is that its got some truth to it. If you want to be a professional athlete, pick your parents carefully. Back the 80's when Taylor's parents tied the knot we were all marking our calendar for 2012 not knowing what the Phinney kids would be doing in the Olympic games, but whatever it was they were likely to be doing it much better than everyone else.
That brings us to the quote from USA Cycling's Jim Miller about the successes of USA Cycling's developmental program. My main point is this, Taylor was never part of USA Cycling's developmental program. And every time that this country gets an athelte that's any good, this is exactly what USA Cycling does...they hand a kid a jersey, issue a press release, and glom on accepting all the credit.
Taylor was supported by his parents, developed my Jonathan Vaughters team, and then eventually poached by Lance Armstrong. USA Cycling's role has been asking, " What size do you wear Taylor" and maybe booking Davis and Connie the same hotel 20 years ago.
In fact, maybe USA Cycling and learn from their "successes" and limit their development program to open bar mixers and handing out extasy at NRC race hotels.
I've been through beauty pagent runner up Lisa Voight and her lap dog Evan Call running the organization into the ground. I've been through the the USCF/USA coup. I've listened to the staff at USA Cycling openly mock clean racers like the Carney brothers while giving Jim Ocavitz all the resources facilitate the development of Tyler and Floyd. I watched while they ignored the people on the ground calling for the support of collegate racing and cyclo-cross. I haven't forgotten that it was USA Cycling coaches that had to settle lawsuits for shoving needles into the arm of junior riders.
So USA Cycling, if you want to be an abusive or absentee father, fine. But when you get a kid who make it into the big game, don't show up in the stands yelling, "THAT'S MY BOY !"