What could have happened on July 26
The pools thought they were done with the turbulent Sun Yang, with an extended career as much as his record (3 Olympic titles and 11 world titles), but the Chinese swimmer has once again escaped the worst.
Suspended for eight years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in February 2020 for having destroyed with a hammer a sample during an unexpected doping control two years earlier, the terror of 200, 400 or even 1,500 m obtained the lifting of the sanction for technicality. Much to the anger of a majority of swimmers, he has the right to line up during the Tokyo Olympics.
In July 2019, he had already managed to participate in the Worlds in Gwangju, South Korea, provoking reactions of hostility. His rival Mack Horton had delivered his feelings on the presence of Sun Yang: « Frustration. You know why. I believe his actions and the way it is managed is more meaningful than anything I can say. » Second in the 400m, the Australian refused to share the honors with the Chinese winner, ostensibly remaining at the foot of the podium.
It must be said that the reputation of the best Chinese swimmer in history has been explosive since his outbreak in 2011. Tested positive for trimetazidine in July 2014, he had only been suspended for three months. During the previous Olympics, in Rio, the French Camille Lacourt had caused a controversy with this famous exit: “He’s pissing purple. “ Horton, winner of the 400m ahead of Sun, let loose: “I have no respect for doped people. “
Four years later, at the start of the 400m, the tension and tension are palpable around the case of Sun Yang, who qualified with the second fastest time behind the Australian, his best enemy. The two men swim in two neighboring lanes. Halfway, the Australian takes a breath in the lead. At the start of the last pitch, we think that Horton will make the difference but Sun Yang resists and gradually nibbles his delay. The finish is dazzling and impossible to decide between the two swimmers. We will have to use the photo finish.
Amazement after a few minutes of waiting, it’s a perfect tie. The two men will have to share the top step of the podium. Furious, Mack Horton once again refuses to get on the box with Sun Yang. He even goes further this time and declines the gold medal. Retired, Camille Lacourt can not engage in an analysis of the color of the urine of the now quadruple Olympic champion.
The Covid also deprived us …
… A historic treble for Dutch cyclist Marianne Vos, “the cannibal”, winner for the third time in a row of the Olympic road race.
… From a successor to Eric Srecki, the last French swordsman to win an individual title at the Olympic Games in 1992, in the person of Yannick Borel.
… The first Olympic title in French judo from the second day of competition, not by Clarisse Agbegnenou or Teddy Riner but by the under 52 kg fighter, Amandine Buchard.
There should have been
Aurélien Giraud, 22, skateboard (street specialty):
“Honestly, I have no idea where I’ll be on July 26th: maybe on vacation or maybe skating as usual. When the weather is nice like that, I spend four to five hours a day there. During confinement, I skated in front of my home in Lyon.
At the Olympics, the twenty best in the world are qualified with a limit of three skaters per country. Currently I am 5e or 6e global. The Games, I see it as a normal competition with the same skaters, the same judges and the same competition formats. The difference is that it will be much more publicized and especially for people who are not interested in skateboarding at the base.
There will be two events: the street, my specialty, and the bowl, the specialty of my best friend Vincent Matheron. The street begins with two 45 second runs where you are free to perform all the best figures of your choice. It is a course where we find elements of the street, such as benches, railings or stairs … There are also elements such as inclined planes.
Then you have to attempt what are called your five best tricks – one trick you choose that is rated out of ten. On these seven events (two runs + five tricks), the four best scores are retained to arrive at a total of points.
When the decision to introduce skateboarding to the Olympic program was taken in 2016, for the first time for the Tokyo Games, the elders were not necessarily happy. They think skateboarding should stay on the streets. I think it’s still something positive. It can make us grow and see us as a real sport.
A skateboarder is respected when he is really strong and when he produces impressive videos taken in the street, where skateboarding was born. We must not forget the origins of this culture. Recently, I tackled the 25 steps of the Cité internationale de Lyon. It is a world famous spot thanks to Ali Boulala. I absolutely love skateboarding. Whether in a skatepark or in the street, I have the same pleasure.
At the beginning of the year, I got a pro model in my name from an American brand. It’s like I’m officially a professional. In France, we are pro when we earn a living from skateboarding; in the USA, it’s when you have a board in your name. I am one of the rare French to have succeeded. “
It’s only at the Olympics that we see that
Akhwari’s long ordeal
Faster, higher, stronger. The Mexico City Olympics marathon has never been so far away from and so close to the famous Olympic motto. At the close of the 1968 edition, the Tanzanian runner John Stephen Akhwari indeed offered a demonstration of courage and self-sacrifice, failing a high-ranking sporting performance.
It was of course not his time of 3 hours 25 minutes and 27 seconds, more than an hour from the Ethiopian winner Mamo Wolde (2 hours 20 minutes and 26 seconds), which propelled him into the annals of the Olympic history, but the way he ran more than half of his marathon.
At the start, Akhwari was one of the best African specialists, one of the possible winners. But after 20 km, he fell and injured his knee, shoulder and head. We drape his knee in a huge bandage and the unfortunate decides to leave despite the pain.
His race then looks like a long ordeal. He alternates between a little choppy trot and a sort of limp walk, almost on one foot. Night has already fallen in Mexico City, the medal ceremony is over and most of the spectators have returned home.
When we learn that a last latecomer arrives near the stadium, the media sniff out the beautiful story and part of the public even returns to fill the stands. As the Tanzanian enters the enclosure to finish his Stations of the Cross, he is acclaimed.
After the finish line, to the question “What did you think about during the race? », he answers first: “I was just thinking of my mom and dad. ” Then, when the press questions the reasons for such suffering, John Stephen Akhwari proves that he also has a certain sense of the formula: “My country didn’t send me 8,000 km to start the race, it sent me 8,000 km to finish the race. ”
Of the seventy-five marathon participants, eighteen threw in the towel due to cramps accentuated by the lack of oxygen in the air linked to the altitude of Mexico City. Eighteen but not nineteen, thanks to the crazy determination of one man.
Find the previous gazettes