Timo Barthel dives in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Athletes like divers Timo Barthel and Tom Daley are celebrating their qualification for the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics.

Yet neither of these athletes, despite “earning” a spot for their country at the Olympics, has been selected to compete in said Olympic Games.

Here’s why.

Depending on the sport, spots are allotted in a bunch of different ways, but when a spot is earned, it’s generally a spot for the country.

Think about it this way. The USA women’s basketball team actually earned their spot in the Olympics by winning the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup. It will have been two years between the team’s qualification and the Olympics.

A lot can happen in two years. So the Olympics have come up with a system where the country gets the spot, and then they select who fills it. It’s to allow for retirements, injuries, just getting old, etc….

If the qualification spots were tied to the players, and one or two of the players from that team, say, was having a child or was injured or retired, then Team USA could be down to nine, 10 players.

That makes a lot of sense.

What makes less sense are the cases of Barthel and Daley, who still need to be “selected” by their organizing committee. They are six months from the Olympics. They are past Olympians. Shouldn’t their spot be guaranteed to them?

In fact, Barthel has qualified Germany for two diving spots at the Paris Olympic Games: The men’s 10-meter platform and men’s 10-meter synchronized platform.

The reality is this: Chances are 99% that their Olympic organizing committee will select them to fill the spots. But there’s no guarantee.

Something kind of similar happened to Australian gymnast Heath Thorpe ahead of the World Championships last year. He was the All-Around national champion, but the selection committee didn’t give him a spot on the team.

People get cray.

While Daley is gay, with two kids and married to filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, Barthel says he likes to define himself simply as “human,” eschewing labels and following his heart.

We love it.

Here’s hoping both of these men join the hundreds of publicly out LGBTQ athletes who will be headed to Paris for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

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