Fitness Magazine

Olympic Disappointment – Why I Wept for the Ukrainian Gymnasts

By Girlontheriver @girlontheriver

It must have been the longest 10 minutes of their lives, as the contestants in the Olympic gymnastics men’s team final waited for the results of an inquiry. For a brief and wonderful few minutes, there had been jubilation in the GB and Ukrainian camps; they’d been battling it out for the bronze medal, but an error by a member of the Japanese team brought the Japanese down into fourth place and propelled GB and Ukraine into silver and bronze positions. But then came the inquiry and a nail-biting 10 minutes whilst the results were reviewed… and then heartbreak for the Ukrainians as they had their bronze medal snatched away from them.

How I felt for them. It’s a fair few months since my first ever rowing win was taken away from me (in our case the initial win on the board was a clerical error – though hats off to Llandaff who, it turns out, beat us fair and square). For the Ukrainians it was more than a disappointment. Their sport is massively underfunded, and a medal could have made all the difference for them from a financial point of view. That’s not something I have experienced, but I do very well understand that feeling of crushing disappointment as something that you’ve hoped and longed and trained for – and then finally, gloriously, achieved – is taken away from you. The fact that it was never truly yours really doesn’t help; if anything it just rubs salt into the wound.

So as I looked at their crestfallen faces, I did wipe away a tear. Of course they’ll bounce back – that’s what you do. But in the meantime, Ukraine, I’m feeling for you.

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