Sid Cassidy, Cecil Gordon, Jay Thomas Picked To Be Officials At 2016 Olympics

Sid Cassidy
Photo Courtesy: SwimmingWorld.TV


Editorial Coverage Sponsored By FINIS

Many of the world’s best athletes will descend upon Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympics with dreams and aspirations of representing their country and standing on the podium with gold hanging from their neck. These elite athletes are selected from all over the world to train and compete for the highest honor in their respected sports.

Much like the athletes, the officials for the Olympic Games are also picked from an elite group and are tasked with providing fair and accurate judgements to help these athletes achieve their dreams. FINA has selected longtime USA Swimming volunteers Stephen “Sid” Cassidy, Cecil Gordon and Jay Thomas as officials for next summer’s Olympics Games.

These three men have combined for over 60 years of officiating experience and have each officiated at high levels, both domestically and internationally, including numerous World Championships, NCAA Championships and Olympic Trials.

Cassidy, one of the world’s most respected leaders in open water swimming, has been selected as a meet referee for the men’s open water race. The Wilmington, Delaware, native has been a member of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee for nearly 20 years. Cassidy served as chair of the committee during the inaugural Olympic open water event at 2008 the Games in Beijing.

“The news was humbling and exciting all in one breath,” Cassidy said. “I am absolutely thrilled for Rio because the challenge is true open water swimming. The ocean racing was the most fun for me as an athlete and is the most challenging for an official. If you’re good enough to qualify for the Olympics, your dream should be to stand on that podium and it is my job to make sure it is fair for everyone.”

Cassidy is a former recipient of the prestigious “USA Swimming Award,” the highest honor for a member of USA Swimming, and currently serves as the aquatics director and head coach at the Saint Andrews Prep School in Boca Raton, Florida.

Joining Cassidy will be Delaware native Cecil Gordon, who will serve as a starter in his first Olympic Games.

“I am excited and very proud,” Gordon said. “To me, this is officiating at the Super Bowl, the World Series or the World Cup. This reaffirms a lot of hard work and is chance to not only enjoy the competition but to be a part of it as well.”

Gordon brings a wealth of experience to Rio, including being the starter at the 2015 FINA World Championships this past summer in Kazan, NCAA Championships, USA Swimming Championships and Olympic Trials.

“It is the Olympics, so there are always going to be butterflies, but I don’t feel overwhelmed by the situation,” Gordon said. “I am prepared for it and will be even more ready for it when that time comes.”

Much like Cassidy, Thomas is a distinguished rules committee chairman and has received prestigious awards for his dedication to the sport of open water swimming. Thomas is a recipient of the Glenn S. Hummer Award, which is presented to the person or group making the greatest contribution to open water swimming, and serves as the Rules and Regulations Committee Chairman. Thomas has been selected as a deck official for the 2016 Olympic Games.

A native of Plantation, Florida, Thomas served as a deck official at the 2012 Olympic Trials as well as an official at three World Championships and three NCAA Championships. He has served on the USA Swimming Rules Committee and the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Board as well as develops, trains and certifies open water swimming officials.

“I broke out in a cold sweat when I heard the news,” Thomas said. “I am honored to be selected as a referee for the Rio games. I look forward to helping these athletes achieve their dreams by competing in a fair environment. I have had wonderful mentors in my career and I thank them for helping me reach this point.”

These three men may not garner the world’s attention and capture headlines in Rio next summer, but they will positively represent the United States and make sure that whichever athletes rise above adversity to the top of the podium do so fairly and are pure, undisputed champions.

The above article is a press release submitted to Swimming World.

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