Drew Goldsack isn’t one to accept anything he doesn’t deserve.
So when the 28-year-old native of Red Deer turned in a sparkling performance at the Canadian Olympic qualifying competition he felt he earned his position on the Canadian Olympic cross-country ski team.
But it didn’t turn out that way.
Despite recording a first in one class sprint, a second in another and a fourth in the 15-km skate race during the trials, Goldsack was left off the 11-member Olympic team when it was announced last Friday.
“The way it worked they only took one single best result and another teammate (Stefan Kuhn) also won a race, so it came down to points accumulated over the year and he edged me on that,” explained Goldsack in a telephone interview from Canmore.
But even then the Canadian Association expected Goldsack would be on the team and told him that.
“It was a mistake by our association as they expected to have more spots open to them,” he explained. “This is the first year FIS (the international ski association) limited the number of athletes each country can send and our association expected to have 15 or 16 spots open to them and the selection criteria was written accordingly.
“They nominated the athletes with the expectation it would be no problem and I was one of those nominations. But in the end that assumption was a disastrous mistake.”
Canada received 11 spots — five women and six men — and Goldsack came up one spot short.
“It’s definitely been a rough week,” he said. “If I hadn’t performed at a level high enough to qualify it would be different, but I proved to myself and the others I was totally back from my injury, in shape and deserved a spot. It’s tougher to take when you deserve it and don’t get it.
“Plus, they told me I would be going, then a few weeks later they tell me I’m not.”
There’s still a chance Goldsack will be in Vancouver.
“It comes down to if other countries decline some of their spots,” he said. “Some of the elite countries have as many as 20 spots and they may not use them all, so they will be offered to other countries.
“I’ll know on the 29th (Friday), but the tough part is now I’m at the mercy of other countries.”
Goldsack was expecting to make his second appearance at the Olympics, having competed in Turin, Italy, in 2006 where he finished 31st in the sprint, 54th in the 15km classic and 57th in the 30km team pursuit.
As it turned out a foot injury that needed surgery early last season, likely prevented Goldsack from being guaranteed a spot on the Olympic team.
“It was definitely a setback as I missed the majority of the qualifying last year, which put me a step behind,” he said. “I not only missed qualifying, but missed making the A team.”
Goldsack, who was named to the development team, was expected to rehab his foot for a year, but he was back after six months, winning a race in New Zealand in August.
“They told me I would be totally back after a year, but I was determined to come back earlier,” he said. “The foot is still stiff and sore at times, but it’s nothing I can’t deal with.”
The fact he couldn’t use the foot forced Goldsack to work on building up his upper body strength, something he feels has helped when it comes to sprinting.
During his time off Goldsack also had time to work as a production assistant for movie producer Bill Erfurth.
“A friend of mine owns a production company and I started working part time for him,” explained Goldsack. “It was a good way to earn some extra money during my down time and when I was injured.”
Goldsack helped promote the movie Canvas last spring and is looking forward to working on a big budget film, Padre Pio, which is expected to cost between $10-15 million. It would be filmed in Italy.
“My job is working on social networking (twitter, face book, my space) and if works out we’d start shooting in April, which is good in that that’s the month we take off from training.”
Goldsack says it’s not the usual career path athletes look at after their careers are over, but “I enjoy it and it’s nice to have something to fall back on once my career is over.”
That career may not come to an end for some time.
“I’m taking it a year at a time,” he said. “I’ll compete next year for sure then reevaluate where I’m at and if I should push toward the 2014 Olympics in Russia.”
But right now his only hope is for a little good news to come his way on Friday concerning the Vancouver Games.