What could have happened on July 30

Storm in an Olympic basin. At the start of the men’s 100m freestyle, eyes are on the broad and solid shoulders of Caeleb Dressel. In the semifinals, the American planed his own world record. Who can beat him? Not the defending champion, Kyle Chalmers, anyway. The Australian was eliminated in the playoffs, guilty of having slowed down too much in the final lengths to save his strength.

The other seven finalists will swim for the two remaining places on the podium. « The wild animals are released ”, already anticipates Alexandre Boyon. The commentator of France 2 is not the only one to be in too much of a hurry. Brazilian Marcelo Chierighini threw himself into the water too early on row 3. Perhaps by mimicry, Dressel imitated him. Convinced of having heard the starter’s shot, he even “crawled” alone for a good 25 meters before realizing his mistake.

The rule being relentless, even for a world record holder, the final swims at six. The chance of a lifetime for the Hungarian Nandor Németh, Olympic champion in 48’15 ahead of the American Blake Pieroni and… Clément Mignon. Eighth time of the finalists, the French won an unexpected bronze medal.

But his happiness is elsewhere. « With what happened today, no one will tell me about my false start of 2015 », Smiles the Marseille swimmer at Nelson Monfort’s microphone. The latter will try to intercept Dressel for a first reaction, but the American slips away. No doubt he didn’t want to hear “That there will be better days”.

The Covid also deprived us …

… Of this saving three-point shot by Evan Fournier to save the French basketball team from an embarrassing defeat against Japan.

… Of this new day without waves and without surfing events in Tsurigasaki. Enough to revive memories of the Nagano Winter Games in 1998 and its capricious weather.

… The surprise victory of the French women in team foil against the Italians. In the Guyart family, Astrid returns to an Olympic title from her brother Brice.

She should have been there

Mélanie de Jesus dos Santos, 20, gymnast, general competition:

« I was disappointed at the beginning when I learned of the postponement of the Games, but then I was positive by telling myself that it gave me one more year to work on new things in my programs. An open competition can last three or four hours. It’s a good stress, but a long stress. It’s tiring to be under pressure for so long.

I see myself more as a “generalist” even though, when I started out, I was stronger on the beam and on the floor, which is called the “leg” apparatus. Besides, it’s on the floor test that I think I have my best chance for a medal. Before, I had a weakness on uneven bars, I really started to work on them when I arrived at the France pole in Saint-Etienne. I was convinced that it was not for me, that I did not have the physique for that …

Read also Gymnastics: French Mélanie de Jesus dos Santos European champion on floor

After my European title in 2019, I could see myself finishing on the podium at the world championships, but, unfortunately, I missed my competition a bit (20e). I think I have the capacity to grab a podium in Tokyo. The competition will be fierce with the Chinese, the Russians, the Brazilians and of course the American Simone Biles.

Often she is far ahead and behind you can have five gymnasts classified in less than one point, which is almost nothing after four events. Afterwards, Simone is not a robot either. For example, she had fallen twice in Doha, at the 2018 worlds. Well, she had won all the same!

Japan is quite a special country, especially when you grew up like me in Martinique, but I like going there. I have been to Tokyo twice for competitions. I even saw the Olympic stadium. During my last World Cup there, I competed in a venue that was supposed to be the Games venue, but that’s no longer the case. I will discover the new room then. “

It’s only at the Olympics that we see that

Matthew Emmons, blunder, defeat and love

Normally, the American is a man who always takes aim with his rifle. In 2004 in Athens, Emmons won his first gold medal in the 50m prone shooting. A new title is opening its arms to him in the three-position 50m shooting event. He has one bullet left to shoot and his lead is three points. An advantage equivalent to a 3-0 in stoppage time in football, to give an idea.

Emmons tells the BBC the following: « So far ahead, I was just trying to relax and shoot as well as I could. I go down to the target… boom. I shoot, then I look at the screen back. Nothing… After a few minutes, we realized that I had aimed at the wrong target. “ The New Jersey native goes gold in eighth place.

This dumpling will however make him meet love. Sorry for him, the Czech shooter Katerina Kurkova (bronze medalist in 10m shooting) gives him a few words of support. « Back then I knew who she was, but we never really talked, continues Emmons. We hit it off really well, started seeing each other a year later and got married in 2007. ”

A year later in Beijing, Katerina Emmons becomes Olympic champion (still shooting at 10m) and witnesses the new misadventure of her husband. On shooting three positions again, the American is one ball from the title. This time he hits the right target, but unwittingly squeezed the trigger. That damn stress, always. Result, a bad 4.4 out of 10 which leaves him at the foot of the podium. He ended up winning a (bronze) medal in this cursed event in London in 2012, not without having previously won his fight against thyroid cancer. Another great story to tell his three children.

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