Answering different inquiries, we wish to state that the reason why Casey BURGENER (USA) is not participating in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Weightlifting competitions is that the USA (USOC/USA Weightlifting) did not enter him to the Games within the quota of two men obtained in qualification.
Having said this, we just wish to highlight a few basic facts in this story.
In accordance with the Olympic Qualification Regulation of Weightlifting Beijing 2008, USA qualified for a quota of 2 (two) men.
USA Weightlifting officials continuously mislead the US public, the media, Mr. Burgener, his family and associates about the qualification obtained by the US in men’s weightlifting for the Beijing Games, claiming that the USA had won 3 (three) slots.
As per the results of the 2006 and 2007 World Championships, which became final after the conclusion of the numerous anti-doping controls carried out at the 2007 World Championships, the US remained just under the margin and did not qualify to obtain a quota for men for Beijing 2008.
At the next qualification opportunity, which was the 2008 Pan-American Qualification Event, the US obtained a quota of 2 (two) weightlifters.
At this point, we must stress that the USA Weightlifting / USOC never received any official communication from the IWF contrary to the above. Just on the contrary: having received various reports and information through the media and individuals, claiming that the US had qualified in the World Championships with 3 male lifters, the IWF repeatedly and officially advised the USAW and the USOC confirming the 2-men quota.
When the USAW requested for an additional (3rd) quota place, we answered officially – however with regret – that it was the IWF’s determined and approved policy not to award any additional Olympic slots to any NOC which had obtained even one place by qualification. This policy was, by the way, pursued most consistently by the IWF throughout the qualification process, despite enormous pressure from many nations, including the US.
We must note with regret that these facts have never been correctly communicated to the media, the US public or the lifters concerned.
It is also extremely important to point out that “quota” means a specific number of Olympic slots which the individual NOCs/National Federations have absolute freedom in filling. In the case of the US it means that it was entirely to the discretion of USOC/USA Weightlifting to decide which two male weightlifters to nominate to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Mr. Casey Burgener could have been one of the two, had he been selected.
According to IOC/IWF Rules, after the Technical Congress (7th August 2008) the list of entries could no longer be modified; no additional athletes could be entered.
Therefore, we feel that it was unfair to this lifter to keep him up to now in the false belief that he can participate in the Games and we can understand his frustration when he finally learned what had been repeatedly officially confirmed all the way.
Finally, we feel sincerely sorry for Casey Burgener, whom we recognise as an outstanding athlete and sportsman, that he fell victim to this unfortunate situation.