Track sprinter Jess Varnish has said that she will not appeal against her non-selection for the Great Britain team for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and that she will now ‘move on with her life’.
Varnish, 25, was dropped from the British Cycling Olympic training programme in April on the grounds that her performance did not meet the required criteria. Subsequently, Varnish alleged sexism in the British cycling camp which ultimately led to the resignation of GB technical director Shane Sutton.
Despite being omitted from the Olympic programme, Varnish continued to train. She reports that she submitted her training data to programmes manager, Andy Harrison, but that she was not selected for the Rio team.
“When I met with Andy Harrison on Friday May 20 he told me that I was welcome to continue sending in training data, but he couldn’t confirm if he would review it, whether it would be what they were looking for and wouldn’t give me any more direction,” Varnish said in a statement issued on Wednesday, June 29.
“He also told me they don’t do trials because otherwise they’d have to do it for every other cyclist in the country. Therefore it’s pretty plain to see that selectors discretion would not be in my favour and appealing would be a pointless process. It’s sad that an organisation that once prided itself on fact and data, now pick and choose riders on discretion. I know I’m not the only rider to feel like this.”
Varnish said that after that meeting she realised that she would not be selected for Rio, and decided to re-focus on other objectives.
“As a result of this meeting, and on advice from legal experts, the BAC, my friends and family, and with no access to a bike or track, I decided to stop training for Rio and move on with my life. I will therefore not be appealing my non-selection.”
Having put that behind her, Varnish now says that she has plenty to look forward to and is studying to be a personal trainer – although she still wants to return to the top in cycling, and represent GB again.
“I’m feeling really excited about my future. I’m proud to say that I’ve completed my personal training exams, am completing my Pilates instructor exams, and am hoping to study Sports Nutrition at Manchester Metropolitan University.
“I’ve also received exciting offers from the cycling world, including professional cycling teams, and am certainly not giving up on my dream of continuing to compete as a professional athlete.”
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“I will compete for Great Britain again, I’m not too old, I have the desire to win and I’ll be back. In the meantime, I wish all those travelling to Rio to represent Team GB the best of luck; embrace the opportunity, the Olympic Games is a very special experience.”
Becky James and Katy Marchant will take part in the women’s track sprint disciplines for Team GB at the Rio Olympics, which start on August 5.