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Olympic wrestling hopeful filing suit; ASWA stands firm

rhonda@samoanews.com
Carl Floor, Jr. at his home at Ili’ili over the weekend, displaying some of the awards and medals he has won during his wrestling career, including the time he represented American Samoa last year at the Oceania tournament in Apia, Samoa. [courtesy photo]

Carl Floor, Jr. says he is prepared to file a court injunction against the American Samoa Wrestling Association and the American Samoa National Olympic Committee if they do not change their position and allow him to represent American Samoa in Wrestling at the 2012 Olympic Games in London; while the ASWA stands firm with its choice of Nathaniel Tuamoheloa to represent wrestling and American Samoa at the Games.

According to the email, dated Saturday, June 23, sent to Ethan Lake head of the ASWA and Ken Tupua, president of ASNOC, and cc’d to a Samoa News reporter, the deadline for ASWA and ASNOC to make their decision was at noon on Monday, June 25, 2012.

At the center of the issue is Carl Floor, Jr., who won 2nd place in his weight class, in the African/Oceania Olympic Qualifier, that took place in Morocco from March 16-18 2012.

This win earned a slot for American Samoa to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in Wrestling in the 96kg class. It was believed that ‘CJ’ (Carl Jr.’s nickname) would go.

However, as reported by Samoa News, in our June 11 issue, ASNOC announced its decision to take Nathaniel Tuamoheloa to compete in the 96kg freestyle slot instead.

Samoa News understands that it’s when CJ returned from the Morocco competition that his Olympic troubles began. 

According to CJ, in an online petition, after qualifying, he returned home to American Samoa and asked the wrestling association (ASWA) and the ASNOC for a more qualified coach to train him in preparation for his dream to win a Gold Medal and accompany him to England.

The petition states that the ASWA responded by removing CJ and his father, Carl Floor Sr. from the Coaching Position he held at Samoana High School in Utulei, American Samoa and informed CJ he would not be going to the Olympics.

In response to questions on the issue, Carl Floor Sr. told Samoa News that they have retained an attorney, but would not reveal who their attorney is. He noted they will file an injunction with the court.

In a statement to the media, Floor, Sr. said, “I'd like an opportunity to state my facts leading to issues pertaining to my removal from ASWA, the unfair replacement of my son and the unethical activities of the ASWA and ASNOC.”

He drew attention to his claims stating “the day I was named secretary [of ASWA] I’ve asked for the by laws and Articles of Incorporation [of ASWA] to validate the legality of my appointment. I have been denied this for six months. None have been produced.”

In the June 23 email, a request was also made for a copy of the Articles of Corporation and by- laws of the ASWA [the local wrestling association], for the “4th and final time” — as Floor’s lawyer said it is needed.

Floor Sr. in his media release, in part, states that “CJ is a bonafide 96 kg wrestler with over 600 matches and I have coached most of them. Ethan has trained CJ only twice and was in his corner coaching him three times. The Olympic competition demands a good relationship between athlete and coach.”

“The replacement wrestler is the fourth choice after Caleb Scanlan, Manu and Steven declined. The replacement wrestler didn't wrestle at all this entire year and is under weight by 12 kg. This can be a dangerous situation,” the elder Floor said.

“CJ and I tried to meet with the ASNOC on many occasions and was denied. Under their bylaws they are supposed to advise their athletes."

Floor, Sr. states that CJ was denied his due process of Olympic selection. “All countries except American Samoa hold a national tournament and the winner competes. It is not the president’s choice, regardless of personal feelings.”

(Floor, Sr.’s full statement to Samoa News can be found on samoanews.com)

Lake told Samoa News, in response to queries on the CJ issue, that “the ASWA regrets the fact that CJ Floor will not be representing American Samoa in the 2012 Olympics. Unfortunately, this decision was made by CJ Floor himself, not the ASWA.”

He explains that “CJ Floor already held the spot as American Samoa’s National Champion at 96kg which is why he was selected and was sent to represent American Samoa in Oceania and again in Africa earlier this year. After qualifying the 96kg slot for American Samoa, CJ was again selected to represent American Samoa for the 2012 Olympics.”

“Unfortunately, CJ and his father, who moved down here for the first time in November, told ASWA that if his father was not put on the official delegation that CJ would choose not to go,” according to Lake.

“The ASWA does not give in to extortion demands and thus on March 23, the ASWA had a meeting with CJ and his dad where they were informed that Carl Floor, Sr. would be removed from all consideration and all ASWA activities.” Lake said.

However, “CJ was still given the opportunity to represent American Samoa and was told that he was the one selected. Regrettably, CJ made his own choice not to go because the dad would not be on the official delegation; despite the fact that both the ASWA president and vice president strongly advised CJ not to make the decision of not going.”

Of the choice to send Nathaniel Tuamoheloa, in place of CJ, Lake notes that “after CJ made his decision not to go, the ASWA immediately proceeded to evaluate other candidates. Even though CJ would later change his mind, the evaluation process to select another candidate had already begun. CJ had his chance and messed it up. He was told he would have to earn it again. CJ was advised that for him to be reconsidered, he needed to rebuild the bridge and write a formal letter of apology.”

In Carl Sr.’s statement, he explains that “CJ did apologize but the apology was deemed not worthy. CJ after five days reconsidered his position under my advice to allow Ethan to coach.”

Lake says that “CJ has elected not to rebuild that bridge and instead has attacked the ASWA because he feels he is the only wrestler in the territory good enough to represent American Samoa and that his dad is the only one qualified to be in his corner. The ASWA agrees that CJ has more than showed he can represent American Samoa on the mat, which is why he was selected and given the opportunity to represent American Samoa in the first place. However a person’s actions off the mat are equally important.”

“To represent your country in the Olympics, one must understand the responsibility of an athletic ambassador. It is to understand that you are not there for yourself but that you are there for your country. If you cannot put your country before yourself, then you do not deserve to represent your country and you do not deserve to be in the Olympics. An athletic ambassador must represent his or her country both on the mat and off the mat, on the court and off the court, on the field and off the field.

Lake concluded: “The ASWA is proud to have Nathaniel Tuamoheloa represent American Samoa in the 2012 Olympics. Nathaniel was selected based on his ability to positively represent American Samoa, not just on the mat but off the mat as well.

“He has positively represented American Samoa for the year both locally and internationally. His record speaks for itself.”

Accomplishments:

3rd - Bronze            2007 South Pacific Games in Apia – Freestyle (youngest medal athlete)

3rd - Bronze            2007 South Pacific Games in Apia – Greco (youngest medal athlete)

1st - Gold            2009 Oceania & South Pacific Cadet Championships in Freestyle

1st - Gold            2009 Oceania & South Pacific Cadet Championships in Greco

2nd - Silver            2010 Oceania & Youth Olympic Games Qualifier

1st – Gold            2010 Oceania & South Pacific Cadet Championships in Greco

1st – Gold            2011 Oceania & South Pacific Cadet Championships in Greco

1st – Gold            2011 Oceania & South Pacific Cadet Championships in Freestyle

1st – Gold            2011 Oceania & South Pacific Junior Championships in Freestyle

2nd – Silver            2011 Oceania & South Pacific Junior Championships in Greco

4 x American Samoa National Champion Greco (2007-2011)

4 x American Samoa National Champion Freestyle (2007-2011)

2011-12 Football All-Star Team vs Hawaii

2011-12 Football All-Star Team vs Australia

Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu contributed to this story.

Jeff Hayner contributed to this story.



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