The Olympic Games can be the highest point in an athlete’s life career. The gold medal perpetuates the name in the history of the sport and, at times, consolidates a certain status, be it the best of the cycle or the best of all times. In Tokyo-2020, in less than a week of disputes, some favorites have already tasted the bitter taste of frustration.
On Tsurigasaki beach, stage of surfing disputes, the two-time world champion John John Florence fell in the round of 16. In women’s, seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore also had her Olympic trajectory interrupted in the round of 16.
On mountain bike, Swiss Nino Schurter, podium in the last three Olympic editions — gold at the Olympic Games Rio-2016, silver in London-2012 and bronze in Beijing-2008— and seven times World Cup champion, had to settle for fourth place in the competition in Tokyo.
with the japanese gymnast Kohey Uchimura the situation was even more bitter. Owner of seven Olympic medals: four golds and three silvers, in addition to being 21 times world champion, he was one of the home owners’ medal bets, but fixed bar qualification, he made a rare mistake and fell, losing any chance of going in the end..
“King Kohey” wasn’t the only Japanese disappointment. Swimmer Daiya Seto arrived as one of the favorites for the 400 medley home dispute. Bronze in Rio-2016, he didn’t even have time to dispute the finals.
Still in swimming we had another surprise. Katie Ledecky was once called by Michael Phelps “one of the best of all time”. In fact, the American swimmer has the credentials for this conversation: owner of five Olympic golds and record holder world in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle, theuntil Sunday (25), it had never been defeated in an official individual competition. But in the waters of the Aquatic Center in Tokyo, the American was dethroned in the 400m freestyle by the Australian Ariarne Titmus and got the silver.
Australia, however, did not escape the list of disappointments. Ashleigh Barty, the world-leading tennis player who was champion at Wimbledon, was the number 1 seed at the Olympic tournament. Fell in the first round of the Olympic tournament. She lost 2 sets to 0 to Spanish Sara Sorribes Tormo, number 46 in the world.
The favoritism in skate street it didn’t do any good for those who had it either. American Nyjah Houston, four-time world champion and highest paid athlete in the sport’s history, was only seventh in Tokyo. Brazilian Letícia Bufoni, who arrived in Tokyo as the X-Games champion, didn’t even qualify for the final. The same happened with Pamela Rosa, six times medalist in X-Games.
No taekwondo, the British Jade Jones, two-time Olympic champion (London-2012 e Rio-2016), fell in the quest for the Olympic three-time championship for Chemical Alizadeh, an Iranian who plays in the Games under the refugee flag.
As a collective, the United States had also started their participation in Tokyo-2020 outside the normal pattern and did not get a medal on the first day of competitions. What may seem normal for other nations of the world is not American: the last time this happened was in Munich-1972.