What could have happened on July 25
Four years earlier in Rio, a downhill crash and a veiled wheel had ruined his dreams of victory. Contemplating the foothills of Mount Fuji, Julian Alaphilippe may have wanted to say, like Brian Joubert leaving the Vancouver ice rink in 2010, “Holy shit Olympics, I won’t make it”, but he keeps it to himself. For the photo, he smiles and congratulates Alejandro Valverde. At 40, the Spaniard added Olympic gold to his record.
This circuit was however cut out for the puncheur of Saint-Amand-Montrond (Cher). Moreover, he took off in Mount Mikuni and descended like a bullet towards the racing circuit, place of arrival. But behind, the pursuit was organized with eight riders. The Colombian Egan Bernal spent long disinterested stints there. Maybe it’s for the recent double winner of the Tour to thank Valverde (and his Movistar team) for his contribution on a curb which was fatal to Thibaut Pinot on the roads of Charente-Maritime during the 10e stage of the Grande Boucle?
Coach Thomas Voeckler suggests it quite strongly and too bad for the Olympic spirit. Under the red flame, Alaphilippe saw the pursuers pounce on him. He didn’t even bother to sprint while Romain Bardet won a chocolate medal (4e). In 2024, Julian will never be more than 32 years old. A good age to win at the top of Montmartre? Just an idea of a route that he would like to submit on occasion to the Paris 2024 organizing committee.
The Covid also deprived us …
… a real Olympic medal for Vincent Anstett (3e saber at 38). In 2008, the Alsatian was only entitled to a “diploma” as a substitute for the team title.
… Of the Belgium – Netherlands derby in field hockey commented by Patrick Montel. But the heart is not really there for the journalist, deprived of athletics, for having defended the marathon runner Clémence Calvin a little too much in her failed doping control case.
… The beginnings of three-on-three basketball in the Olympic program. And why not five-on-five football with sweaters to make goals like children?
There should have been
Pierre Plihon, 30, team archery:
“Instead of being in Tokyo, I’m in Sweden right now. My partner is Swedish and also practices archery. I train and fish a little in the afternoon. With her team, she has already qualified for the Olympics. Which is unfortunately not our case for the moment. Before thinking about Tokyo next year, we will first have to win an Olympic quota for France. We narrowly missed it at the last world championships by losing to Taiwan in the round of 16 and in a shootout to boot. Everything was played on three arrows and we were eliminated for a few millimeters …
It’s not necessarily joy, but we are in a good position to qualify as an individual: I am 13e world, Thomas Chirault is 15e and Jean-Charles Valladont [vice-champion olympique en titre] had a slump but is quite capable of fetching a quota. We will succeed in doing it as a team as well. We had torn off in 2016 and we will get there for Tokyo. In addition, we are lucky to have a qualifying tournament during a World Cup organized in France, in Vincennes.
The peculiarity of the team tournament at the Games is that we have a first qualifying round on Friday, the day of the opening ceremony. When you’re an archer, you don’t even have to think about it. In Rio, I had barely watched it on TV. The advantage is that in the event of a medal it would allow us to have more media coverage because it would be the first. The women’s team had this chance in 2008, in Beijing, by winning a bronze medal and we had talked about it a lot …
Even if this is your first time taking an archery event, the concept is fairly straightforward to understand. You have to shoot your arrow closest to 10. There are six ends in which you shoot three arrows. When we win four ends, we win the game. What we don’t realize on TV is the distance [70 m]. When you see an archer or an archer chaining 10s, you look bad if you roll a 9 behind. Hitting 10 on an arrow is one thing, but first and foremost it is a sport of consistency. And staying precise throughout a competition, that’s what makes high-level archery so difficult, even more so at the Olympics. “
It’s only at the Olympics that we see that
David Khakhaleichvili, this rival of David Douillet who has not made the weight
Unlike other weight categories in judo, weighing is a formality for people over 95 kg where competitors do not have to sweat to lose one or two extra pounds. But it remains mandatory under penalty of elimination. This July 22, 1996, the Georgian David Khakhaleichvili will learn it at his expense. Reigning Olympic champion, he is David Douillet’s main opponent. But the two men are never going to cross paths that day. As the Frenchman gets weighed in the Olympic Village training hall with all the other fighters, Khakhaleichvili and his trainer, Merab Ratichvili, experience a terrible mess.
Two days earlier, it was clearly indicated during the draw that the weigh-in would take place in the Olympic Village. Absent, Ratichvili is obviously unaware. Later, he will say that the instructions were badly translated to him. When the Georgian duo landed around 7:20 a.m. at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, the doors were closed. They are then informed of their mistake. But fate is hitting the Georgian clan. Arrived in the village, Khakhaleichvili is blocked at the entrance by a very zealous security. The in-flight explosion of the TWA’s Boeing departing from New York a few days earlier gripped Americans.
When the judoka introduces himself, it is 8:05 am He missed the weigh-in by five minutes. At 9:30 am, the Romanian Alexandru Lungu was declared the winner without a fight during the first scheduled round against the defending champion. In the final, David Douillet sends the Spaniard Ernesto Perez to win his first Olympic title. Khakhaleishvili never said if he had the heart to watch the fight.
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