Team USA Programs Suspended Due to COVID-19

by Terry Bigham, USBC Communications 0

ARLINGTON, Texas – The United States Bowling Congress has suspended the Team USA and Junior Team USA programs for the remainder of 2020 because of uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the postponement of international competitions to 2021.

This was a painful and difficult decision for everyone involved as the Team USA program represents the core of USBC’s mission, vision and values. Team USA programs provide athletes the opportunity to compete against the best in their sport on an international stage, and bowling is no different. Earning a roster spot and representing the United States in international competitions is an aspirational goal that begins for many as young bowlers at the Junior Gold Championships.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has stopped the sports world. World Bowling has pushed its world championships events to 2021, and USBC is focused on the well-being of our athletes and communities. Sadly, it appears clear there will be no international events for Team USA in 2020, and training as a team in the elite environment Team USA deserves will not be possible in the near future.

While USBC feels suspending the Team USA program for 2020 is the only responsible choice, we believe no athlete should be deprived the Team USA experience they earned or the opportunity to compete for the U.S. because of something out of their control.

Therefore, all 2020 Team USA and Junior Team USA members, if they remain age-eligible, automatically will be placed on their respective 2021 teams.

“We know this is disappointing for our Team USA athletes who worked hard to earn the honor of representing our country in competition,” Team USA Head Coach Rod Ross said about suspending Team USA operations in 2020. “Unfortunately, we do not see any possibility of Team USA competing this calendar year. We look forward to 2021, with a stronger expanded team that includes current team members and those who make the squad at the 2021 (USBC) Team USA Trials.”

Team USA competes in prestigious events throughout the world and 2020 was to feature such events as the World Youth Championships, World Singles Championships, Pan American Combined Championships, Pan American Champion of Champions and the annual QubicaAMF World Cup.

The attention now will turn to 2021 and bowlers still will be able to earn spots on next year’s teams at the Team USA Trials and U.S. Amateur Championships, scheduled for January 2021.

At the 2021 Team USA Trials and U.S. Amateur Championships, the following competitors will earn spots:

    2021 Team USA
      * The top four men and top four women, by performance
      * The U.S. Amateur champions
      * Two men and two women will be at-large selections made by the National Selection Committee (NSC)

    2021 Junior Team USA
      * The top four boys and top four girls, by performance, who are age-eligible
      * Two boys and two girls will be at-large selections made by the NSC

The annual summer camps for Team USA, Junior Team USA and the junior developmental teams also will return in 2021.

These decisions were made in consultation with the USBC Athletes Advisory Council (AAC). The AAC is a group of current and former Team USA athletes serving with a mission to communicate the interests and protect the rights of athletes. All members have represented USBC Team USA in the Pan American Games, World Bowling World Championships or American Zone Championships or other major international competition in the past 10 years.

Team USA members not only are the top athletes in the sport but also are the most visible ambassadors of bowling. Learn more about the team members and the Team USA programs at BOWL.com/TeamUSA and BOWL.com/JuniorTeamUSA.

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