He wept after his "loss" to the Brazilian Yamaguchi Florentino in the 81 kg category boxing bout. The 14-15 score in favour of the Brazilian was termed as 'daylight robbery' by the television commentators. That controversial decision broke a billion Indian hearts and surprised the entire sporting fraternity. After all this was the Olympic Games 2012 and Sumit Sangwan was living his dream. Now that dream had been shattered.
Then it was Vikas Krishan. The positive result of his 69 kg pre-quarter final boxing bout was overturned following a review by his American opponent. It’s a bit shocking to be declared a winner and then the loser within the span of a few hours.
Our sympathies are definitely with Sumit and Vikas but at the end of the day, this is sport and these things happen.
She was booed by the spectators during the 5000 metres final. Her childhood idol and colleague Mary Decker accused her of being a cheat. She received death threats. Zola Budd, the barefoot South African competing for Britain was given the chance to compete in Los Angeles 1984, but a dream opportunity turned to disaster.
A medal favourite, Zola Budd’s legs got entangled with American Mary Decker’s during the course of the race. Decker fell off the track. As foul play was suspected initially, Budd was disqualified, briefly, but the Olympics' director of athletics decided "there was no foul" and reinstated her. In fact, several other athletes including the ones running that race said that Decker was to blame. But all in all, Budd’s Olympic dream was finished.
She later said "The booing came down like a tidal wave of concentrated hostility. It was like being punched in the stomach. More than ever I wanted to stop and for the whole thing to end. What I really wanted at that point was to go somewhere and hide, but there was nowhere to go, so I had to keep running." Budd insisted that her transformation over the last lap from potential winner to also-ran had been entirely deliberate. After the accident, she said "People passed me and I didn't care— everything had collapsed and I just wanted out."
1988 Seoul, the defending Olympic champion, Greg Louganis, hit his head on the diving board and fell into the water during the qualification round of the 3 metres springboard event. With temporary sutures, he came back to win gold becoming the first ever diver to defend his title in the springboard event. He later said that that more than anything else, the accident hurt his pride.
The journey of Moroccan Hicham El Guerroj, world record holder in the 1500 metres and the mile, is sporting folklore. In Atlanta 1996, he was the favourite to win the 1500 metres. With 400 metres to go, he was moving into the lead... but he fell and finished 12th. After two world titles in 1997 and 1999, again he was the favourite at Sydney 2000. There he claimed silver.
With two more world titles to his name in 2001 and 2003, he approached Athens 2004 yet again as the favourite. This time he delivered with twin golds in the 1500 and 5000 metres.
There is much more. And always will be.
Sportspersons train very hard both physically and mentally with a singular focus of being the best in their sport. Through this journey, they go through the ups and downs. They win by a whisker and lose without a whimper, have their lungs on fire and walk the wire.
Yet competing at the Olympics just takes the stress, pressure and competition to unbelievable levels. Here the disappointments and embarrassments are very public and on a global level. Sink or swim, both possibilities exist.
Both Sumit and Vikas can either learn from this experience and scale new heights or fall victim to the situation.
As it is said, future is an undiscovered country.