Chloe Woodruff has resigned from the U.S. Olympic Mountain Bike Team, citing personal reasons, USA Cycling said today in a statement. The U.S. National Champion placed 14th at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and had planned to race in Tokyo as the third member of the U.S. team alongside Kate Courtney and Haley Batten. Unlike Courtney and Batten, who qualified automatically based on their results, Woodruff was selected by a USA Cycling committee to fill the third spot.
Erin Huck, who will replace Woodruff, is currently ranked 26th in the World Cup standings after placing 15th in Albstadt, placing 16th in Nove Mesto, and not racing Leogang. Like many of the Olympic Long Team members, she was heartbroken when she originally was not selected. The exact events between Woodruff's selection for the team and subsequent resignation and Huck's taking her place are unclear, but several sources say there was an arbitration process. No one has said whether Woodruff resigned during or after the dispute.
According to the Associated Press
, "The decision by USA Cycling’s eight-member selection committee to pick Woodruff over Huck was so close that it led Huck to request an arbitration hearing, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because those hearings take place behind closed doors and are not considered public knowledge."
Filmmaker and photographer Allen Krughoff shared a celebratory post on Instagram that originally included the paragraph, "Arbitrator agreed that the selection committee didn't follow their own protocol, leaving Erin off the team, and sent the decision back to selection committee to re-evaluate. Prop to Erin for sticking up for what she felt was a deserved spot on the team." That section now reads [redacted]
It is certainly true that Huck has shown better form this year than Woodruff, who placed 30th in Albstadt and 64th in Nove Mesto and is currently ranked 41st in the World Cup overall after skipping Leogang. It makes sense that many would have expected the third spot on the team to go to Huck.
USA Cycling, however, denies that Krughoff's version of the story is true. In a message to Bill Schieken of CXHAIRS
who shared screenshots of Krughoff's post, USA Cycling wrote, "The information Allen posted is not accurate. Yes there was an arbitration underway. However, this decision was made by Chloe herself and not the result of the arbitration. We are working to correct Allen’s post," according to Schieken
Huck, too, deleted an Instagram post about the situation then re-posted it with the mention of arbitration removed, according to screenshots from Ryan Simonovich, who posted a Twitter thread that details the saga
Huck, now 40 and living in Tuscon, Arizona, starting racing mountain bikes in her late twenties. She developed as a recreational racer while working as an engineering program manager, eventually earning a discretionary spot on the U.S. World Champs team after a strong showing at the U.S. National Championships. Things snowballed from there, and she has spent most of the last decade as one of the top U.S. pro racers and a consistent top-20 rider on the international scene.
Over the last few years, she and the other Olympic Long Team members have worked together to earn as many UCI points as possible so that the U.S. would be granted a third Olympic women's spot. After the Games were postponed in 2020, the so-called 'US-Slay' squad held their own training camp to help each other become the best they could be. While tough competitors, they all played their part in creating a remarkably strong team together.
With the Olympics opening in just a few weeks, it's almost time for all that work to go into action. We have reached out to Chloe Woodruff and Erin Huck for additional comment. We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
USAC is making no mention of the fact that they lost arbitration as it would reveal their continued mistakes and make them look bad. Their selection process and application of standards is massively flawed and has shown zero indication of change or improvement.
Using the resignation with zero mention of arbitration is a cop out, plain and simple. The truth and facts should be in the open; be honest and work to improve it. The more clarity and transparency there is the better for everyone, especially the athletes that are affected.
2.) I continue to admire the teamwork and camaraderie!
3.) Woodruff was off her game this spring, and there is value in actual experience winning WCs heading into the Olympics.
4.) Woodruff is young enough that she could race in the next olympics, which should tip a discretionary pick in her favor.
5.) How dumb is USAC screwing up their own rules by failing to retain the "discretion" in their "discretionary pick"??
6.) Can the xc team stop saying "slay"? It's weird.
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