Sunday, November 09, 2008


We're pointed to the case of Susan Haywood by a comment:

Anyone able to comment on Sue Hayward's recent award of damages?

This is the first I've heard of the case, but it looks like there was an arbitration overturned along the way, and then a jury award of damages by a US Federal Court. I'm guessing the contractual basis for dispute resolution was the same USAC racing license application Floyd agreed to.

Stare Decisis?

Probably not...


Said CyclingNews,

American mountain bike racer Susan Haywood was awarded over $300,000 in damages by a US Federal Judge on Thursday for being unfairly being removed from the USA Olympic team in 2004.

We've gotten the relevant documents from the case and put them in the archive:
Stare decisis being the principle of following precedent of prior decisions, the question is always whether this case can be distinguished from that case, so the precedent of that case doesn't apply.

It doesn't look like USACycling fought this very hard, and the facts seem very different from Landis, so it's hard to say it sets any relevant precedent for the Landis federal case.


whareagle said...

The Haywood Case was played out in dramatic fashion in the 2004 DVD, "Off Road to Athens". I don't blame Mary McConnelough for this, but USAC definitely was guilty of at least being disorganized about it. I DO wonder if the recent departure of the USAC MTB Coach may have had something to do with this case, though I doubt it.

I think the Director of Coaching has a grudge against me. ;)

Unknown said...

Not the fault of either Haywood or McConnelough. Their job as to race.

In this case, USAC's job was to publish qualification criteria and follow it in naming qualifiers for the mountain bike racers contesting the 2004 olympics.

Unfortunately for USAC, they either couldn't count, or couldn't figure out what to count.

It's kind of sad when this kind of organizational incompetence occurs as many lose in the process. Mary McConnelough and Susan Hayward lost because it the loss of focus on the games due to USAC incompetence wrt this issue. Susan Haywood lost more as USAC ultimately named the wrong rider and she'll never get that chance back. USAC finally lost as the award went against USAC and for Haywood. Anyone taking out a membership with USAC, or affiliated with USAC, lost because funds will now have to be diverted from where they were intended to pay for a screw-up that was easily avoided.

USAC's folly was written about extensively on VeloSnooze and elsewhere, circa 2004.

Unknown said...

Okay, this Velosnooze article ( seems to contradict my recollection and an assertion or two, in my previous post.

My recollection was that USAC either couldn’t count or didn’t know what to count. According to the referenced article, they knew how to count and what to count. According to the arbitrator, “USA Cycling had not properly notified the UCI of results from a 2003 short-track event in Sandpoint, Idaho, in which Haywood had earned 15 points. The arbitrator subtracted the points, resulting in Haywood losing the nomination by 14 points.” So they didn’t do their paperwork (transmit elite race results to the UCI, as required) in a competent manner and it cost a mountain bike racer the shot that she earned to race in the 2004 Olympics.

The jury concluded that chance was worth $300,000 and awarded Haywood that amount in compensatory damages. They further awarded Haywood a further ~$18,500 in costs. Haywood did not seek punitive damages. That was kind of her. Hopefully, USAC will accept her olive branch, do the right thing, and not appeal the jury award.

whareagle said...

I know the promoter of the Sandpoint event. He's now out of the business, but at the time, he basically claimed that either the fax didn't go through, or the machine was broken, or something like that, and he basically forgot until it was wayyy too late.

Idunno - I usually get calls or e-mails from the local GB when we're more than a day or two late with results. You'd have thought that UCI would have made a call or sent an e-mail or something.

Still - it sucks that it had to happen in the first place.