THE Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) has taken note of reports in the media in relation to the non-accreditation of physiotherapist Jo Brown, regarding the 2022 Beijing Winter Games, particularly statements made by and on behalf of the Jamaica Bobsled Federation, and is constrained to provide the context and facts concerning the matter.
From the inception of the current Administration in June 2017, the JOA has maintained and instituted a non-negotiable policy of building and promoting local competencies and expertise in sport as part of its thrust to build capacity and the cadre of Jamaican professionals who would serve our athletes at games which are under the jurisdiction of the association.
As a corollary to that policy, the JOA negated and will continue to negate any replacement of local professionals by foreign interests.
This policy was on many occasions articulated publicly and in board sessions by the directorship of the JOA, of which the current president of the bobsled federation was a former director, and there was unanimous agreement.
In furtherance of this policy, the JOA, pursuant to a recommendation made, invited Brown (who is originally from New Zealand but migrated to Australia where she now resides) to Jamaica in 2019 to deliver a workshop, and the policy of the JOA and the objectives of the workshop were outlined clearly to her.
Brown was not a member of the Jamaican delegation to the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and she has not been a member of any delegation of the JOA.
Last year when Brown sought to be a member of the Jamaican delegation to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games she was advised by the JOA that she could not be and subsequent approaches made by her for admission to our member association, the Jamaica Sports Medicine Association, were unsuccessful.
The JOA has never been advised and is unaware of contractual arrangements between Brown and the Jamaica Bobsled Federation, if any, which, in any event, would be irrelevant to the issue of accreditation given the policy of the JOA.
Given the small size of the team to the Games, the JOA was assigned accreditation for five primary team officials by the Beijing Local Organising Committee, of which four were assigned to the Jamaica Bobsled Federation and one to the coach of Jamaica’s representative in alpine skiing.
The Jamaica Bobsled Federation, with respect to three of the positions, named coaches and failed to select a Jamaican physiotherapist whose name it had submitted to the JOA previously.
In a communication to the JOA last year, the president of the Jamaica Bobsled Federation officially confirmed to the JOA that he wished to be a part of the Jamaican bobsled delegation and re-confirmed this in subsequent communication when, after accreditation closed in October of last year, it was discovered by the Beijing Local Organising Committee that he and another member, Kevin Silva of British nationality, had sought to be registered with the International Bobsled Federation and the English team, respectively, which the committee advised was against the policy of accreditation.
The JOA thereafter received an official communication from the vice-president of the Jamaica Bobsled Federation confirming the three persons, and in relation to the fourth position inexplicably advised that either its president or Brown would go. Given the president’s expressed position and the JOA’s policy, it was obvious to the JOA what the federation’s position should have been.
Jamaica’s delegation to the Beijing Winter Games is being led by Fitzgerald Mitchell, chef de mission and a sport
president; and Dr Wayne Palmer, noted sport leader and well known and respected orthopaedic surgeon who is the chief medical officer (CMO) and COVID-19 liaison officer (CLO).
The JOA will continue steadfastly to apply its policy to advance and protect local professionals who serve or wish to serve our country at regional and international games. Our strategic partnerships with the United States Sport Academy (USSA), World Eleven and the Argentine Football Association, the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBBF), the International Jump Union (IJRU), other regional and international bodies and collaborations with individuals are all designed to enhance the knowledge base and expertise of our local professionals, and not to imperil them. We certainly will not resile from that informed position.
The JOA will continue to invest in winter sports of which the sport of bobsled has been, since 2018, the beneficiary of over $25,000,000 by direct investment of the JOA and funding from the Winter Olympic Solidarity Scholarship programme, of which its athletes have been the sole beneficiaries.