Nathan George Faces Force Majeure In His Quest for Olympic Selection to Tokyo

Nathan George

Force majeure is a common clause in contracts which essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties, such as a war, strike, riot, crime, epidemic or sudden legal changes prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract.

This past year Nathan George has been forced to understand the definition of Force Majeure more than once in his quest to gain selection to Canada’s Olympic Team.

The Coquitlam, BC sprinter represented Canada at the 2018 NACAC Championships in Toronto, ON as a member of the 4x400m relay.  This year Nathan is attempting to be selected to the Olympic mixed 4x400m team. This new relay event for the Olympic Games, consists of 2 men and 2 women with one reserve sprinter each.

Canada held a training camp in Baton Rouge, LA this spring to prepare for competing at the Olympic qualifying event in Poland on May 1 and 2.  The top 8 teams at the World Relays Championships in each event would qualify for Tokyo. Because of the Covid-19 threat Canada along with USA, Japan and Australia withdrew their relays team. First major encounter with Force Majeure.

 Athletics Canada high performance director Simon Nathan said "We know this is disappointing news given the implications it may have on qualifying for the Olympic Games; however, we made this decision with our team's health and safety at heart,"

Team Canada coach, Glenroy Gilbert planned on using the USATF competition in Prairie View, TX in mid-May to qualify our relay teams via time. Extreme wind, thunder and rain forced cancellation of this opportunity. Second major encounter with Force Majeure.

As of June 2nd, Canada’s qualification for our mixed 4x400m relay team is hanging on a thread. Based on the 2019 time of 3:16.76, Canada is  ranked 16th out of 16 start positions. Any country not yet qualified in this event can attempt to displace Canada by posting a superior time in an international relay race.

From right Nathan George and Ben Ayesu-Attah

Nathan George and Ben Ayesu-Attah both from the Coquitam Cheetahs Track Club, will use the Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome Track Classic to improve their electability to the Olympic team by improving their Canadian ranking.

Nathan said “Philip Osei, myself, Ben Ayesu-Attah and Austin Cole are all potential men on the team right now and things can change if someone else runs fast before the qualifying period.  'm not sure how the team will look on the women's side as Canada is also sending a women's 4x400m. Aiyanna Stiverne, Alicia Brown, Madeline Price, Micha Powell and Zoe Sherar were all at the training camp and are in the relay pool. Sage Watson and the current top 3 ranked women would also be in the relay pool as well. I believe Canada will be sending at least the top 6 women to Tokyo and potentially the top 8.”

Nathan and Ben will attempt to improve their 2021 seasonal best 400m times of 46.51 and 46.75 at Swangard Stadium.  Philip Osei leads the 2021 Canadian ranking with 45.76. with Edrick Floreal Jr. listed at 46.68. It is expected that the top three 400m sprinters in Canada will be selected assuming Canada retains it's 16th place world ranking

The Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome Track Classic is closed to the public because of Covid-19 regulations.

However the 2021 Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome International Track Classic will be broadcast live from Vancouver, BC, Canada on Saturday, June 12.

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The broadcast will begin at 3:15pm PT / 6:15pm ET. Subject to change.

The broadcast will be focused on running events. Field events will be shown as the schedule allows but will not be shown in place of running events.

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