No victories, no participation – Newspaper Kommersant No. 126 (7088) from 21.07.2021

No victories, no participation – Newspaper Kommersant No. 126 (7088) from 21.07.2021

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No victories, no participation – Newspaper Kommersant No. 126 (7088) from 21.07.2021

At the Tokyo Summer Olympics, which opens on Friday, an entire group of celebrity athletes will not perform. Most of them were prevented from participating in the Olympic Games by coronavirus, more often not the disease itself, but the preparation problems caused by it. But many sports stars did not make it to Japan for other reasons.

If the Tokyo Olympics set a record before the start, then this is a record for losses. A huge number of athletes who either have an unconditional star status, or are close to it, and whose performances could turn into Olympic hits, will not come to it. Of course, the main reason for the shortage of celebrities was the coronavirus pandemic.

If you forget about men’s basketball and golf (the best basketball players from the NBA do not always strive to participate in the Olympics, and the US team invariably remains without a number of potential frontmen, and leading professional golfers are simply used to ignore these competitions), then the list of the most affected sports by a margin leads tennis. There are simply colossal losses in it. Positive tests for coronavirus, unwillingness to face the harshest Olympic restrictions, fear of a pandemic, ordinary injuries have deprived the Olympics of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Dominic Tim, Nick Kiryos, Serena Williams, Sofia Kenin, Simone Halep, Bianca Andreezcu and very noticeable players.

But other sports were also seriously affected – for example, athletics. The most dramatic story in it involves the Seed Caster. This South African runner was once diagnosed with hyperandrogenism (a syndrome in which, due to the increased content of male hormones, women develop characteristics characteristic of men), and many of Semeny’s rivals openly stated that they considered it unfair that she was allowed to compete in women’s tournaments. … Nevertheless, the South African was allowed on them for a long time, having won Olympic gold in 2012 and 2016 in her favorite 800-meter. It was hit by the International Athletics Federation. In 2018, she introduced a limit on the level of testosterone in the blood of athletes competing at distances from 400 m to 1 mile. The seed did not fit into it, she did not want to lower testosterone, and attempts to challenge the innovation in court did not lead to success. The champion switched to the unusual distance of 5000 m, but did not qualify for the Olympic qualification.

American Christian Taylor would certainly have fought for Olympic gold in the triple jump – after all, he is the reigning Olympic champion and world champion. Taylor was unlucky – he recently suffered an ankle injury.

His compatriot Shakerri Richardson could shine in Tokyo at the most prestigious 100-meter race – the results made it possible to count on at least a medal. But Richardson never made it to the Olympics. A doping test that she passed after the national qualifying competitions revealed the presence of traces of marijuana. For her, a light punishment is due – only a month of disqualification, the term expired by the Olympics. However, the trouble is that the test canceled the result of Richardson in the selection – those who lost to her flew to Tokyo.

But the British athletics legend Mo Farah was summed up by his age. A four-time Olympic champion at distances of 5000 m and 10,000 m, at 38 he tried to get to Japan, but was cut off in qualifying competitions, like, by the way, two veteran American swimmers hung from head to toe with awards – five-time Olympic winner Nathan Adrian and Ryan Lochte, winner of 12 Olympic medals of all merits.

There are also losses in the Russian national team. Let’s say they were carried by both volleyball teams – both male and female. The male one lost the blocker Dmitry Musersky, who played a crucial role in many of her victories in the previous decade, including the Olympic one in 2012, due to the aggravation of an old injury, the female one – Tatyana Kosheleva’s out-gamer. Kosheleva, a key volleyball player, before the Olympics suddenly announced that she had decided to say goodbye to the national team.

At the previous Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Yana Yegoryan was almost the brightest character in the chic Russian fencing team. The saber fencer won both personal and team gold. Yegoryan will not be at the Tokyo Olympics: in April she became a mother.

Roman Vlasov’s case is a classic example of how the postponement of the Olympics just a year ahead changes the alignment. Classic wrestler Vlasov took Olympic gold in 2012 and 2016. There were no doubts that with his talent at an age that is still far from critical (he is only 30 years old), he will qualify for the third highest award (and in wrestling only six athletes in the entire history of the Olympics), there were no doubts. So, in 2020, Roman Vlasov was the unconditional first number of the Russian team in the category up to 77 kg. But then, after the end of the “quarantine” period, without starts and full training, the situation turned upside down. Vlasov made several misfires at both domestic and international competitions and gave the rank of the first number to Alexander Chekhirkin. There will be no chase for the third gold.

Alexey Dospekhov

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