Trimming Weeds, Breaking Chains, and Chasing Cats

I‘ve received a lot of negative feedback from my article “MTBO is America is Dead – Long Live American MTBO“.

In that article, I pointed out that the Orienteering USA 6-year experiment has failed because it has not put a competitive national framework in place to support real MTBO competition.

Critics have told me that it shouldn’t matter how well the US MTBO Team does at the World MTBO Championships.

That we should support them regardless because it takes courage to even try this level of competition.

I want to respond to the critics by stating: I SUPPORT the US MTBO Team going to the World MTBO Championships in Austria in a few weeks.

I wish them the best of luck!

That being said, I want everyone to stop pretending that World MTBO Championship is NOT about doing well in MTBO COMPETITION!

I WANT the United States to be competitive in World MTBO.

If we’re being honest, we are not competitive.

I WANT Orienteering USA to do for MTBO that they already do for Foot Orienteering.

If we’re being honest, the robust system for selecting members to race in the WOC is very different. Why?

I WANT Orienteering USA to invest (i.e. spend real $$$ money) in American MTBO.

If we’re being honest, there is little OUSA money dedicated to building MTBO in the United States.

I WANT Orienteering USA to actually care about this sport the same way USA Cycling does, the same way USA Triathlon does, the same way US Track and Field does, the same way American Canoe does, the same way USA Rowing does, the same way US Biathlon does, the same way US Speedskating does — and every other national-level organization representing the United States of America on the world stage!

But to do this, they need to first GET REAL with the problems with their existing program and TAKE NOTICE of how other AMERICAN World-Class Athletes are looking at Orienteering USA when we perform poorly in the World MTBO Championships.


If we’re being honest, why are ALL THE OTHER NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS able to do this — and do it well — yet we have been unable to do this?

There is no stopping Orienteering USA from sending another group of athletes to the World MTBO Championships this year.

However, if we’re being honest, the Americans going to the World MTBO Championships in 2018 — based on the past six years of results — are going as MTBO Tourists: a non-competitive group of American MTBO athletes traveling to the World MTBO Championships for only the experience of going.

Yeah, it sucks to call them MTBO Tourists. I WANT the United States to be competitive in World MTBO.

I WANT them to WIN!

And YES, the American MTBO Athletes that started us down this road are trailblazers and should be appreciated for going, learning, and measuring the level of competition.

That cannot be taken from them.

They should be applauded for doing it!

However, that was back in 2012.

We now need to break ourselves out of this delusion that more of the same will work.

We need to stop pretending that a race resume process, with no real competitive path to team selection, will EVER produce a competitive US MTBO Team; because it won’t!

We have 6-years of proof to that fact that we can no longer pretend doesn’t exist.

So, if we’re being honest, does continuing down this failed path the best use of our time, resources, and risk to our International reputation?

Are we finally going to acknowledge that the current system needs to change?

Or are we not ready to be honest with ourselves yet?