“…possibly the greatest choke in Olympic history” 6



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The Campbell sisters went to Rio carrying the weight of Australia on their shoulders, but in their failure to earn an individual medal, they have been quite harsh on themselves.

Cate Campbell reckons her gold and silver relay medals were punctuated by “possibly the greatest choke in Olympic history”.

Australia ended the Rio Olympic pool program with silver and bronze medals in Saturday night’s medley relays, lifting its swimming total to 10 – three gold, four silver and three bronze. But Cate is still kicking herself for the one that got away – the 100m freestyle.

The 24-year-old said she had no-one but herself to blame for how she had performed in Rio and although she leaves with one gold and one silver relay medals it’s not the outcome she’d spent the past four years wanting to achieve.

“The world got to witness possibly the greatest choke in Olympic history a couple of nights ago. I almost needed someone to give me a Heimlich manoeuvre to help me out there. It hurts. Maybe I will stick around for another four years,” Cate told the Seven Network after missing the medals in her 50m freestyle final on Saturday night.

She somehow overcame the gut-wrenching disappointment of her individual performances at the Olympic Games, finishing sixth in the 100m freestyle and fifth in the 50m event, to anchor Australia’s 4x100m medley relay team from sixth to silver.

She hinted at being injured but refused to elaborate. “I am not here to make excuses. Everyone has setbacks. I am not going to put anything in print yet,” she told reporters.

“I want my results to stand for themselves and I want to be able to stand and take responsibility for my actions. There may be a few things coming out a little bit later but that is absolutely not relevant at the moment. It’s been a tough week, there is no denying. But I’m very very proud of that (relay) swim. I executed it exactly how I was supposed to do it two nights ago and came away with a very different result and I can’t be prouder than that.”

Her sister Bronte has battled chronic shoulder concerns and there is no quick fix.

“It’s very tough racing when you’re not in peak condition. It’s something I haven’t had to do for a very long time, it’s something I will continue learning how to do if I want my career to keep on going,” she said.

“You’ve got to stop sometimes and take in the moment. That doesn’t happen very often, you can’t take it for granted. I may never get to be in an Olympic final again, I just don’t know.”

She said that should she forge on to Tokyo, she would do some things differently to prepare.

We think the sisters should be proud of coming this far and representing Australia. Don’t you?

Starts at 60 Writers

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  1. The media has a lot to answer for – they put so much pressure on these athletes – just to represent Australia is a great accomplishment – well done to all our athletes and why should they have to justify their shortcomings to the media all the time – the media haven’t sacrificed a huge part of their life just to get there and then the media can’t even ask intelligent questions !!!!!

    2 REPLY
    • Well said Chris!! Cate & Bronte are real winners because of the way they handled themselves when they were so devastated. Kyle Chalmers swam brilliantly & thoroughly deserves his Gold medal. However to my mind Cate, Bronte & Cam McEvoy also deserve all the accolades we can heap on them for their graciousness in defeat.
      All children in all AUSTRALIAN schools should be shown the video of Cam McEvoy from the time he finished his race to the end of his interview with the absolutely pathetic & insensitive Channel 7 inquisitor on the Pooldeck. It is a study in real character, graciousness, resilience & wonderful sportsmanship. It exemplifies what it means to ” do the best you can & have fun”, even at the highest level.
      Well done to all our AUSTRALIAN swimmers. I’m so proud to be AUSTRALIAN after watching your efforts both in & out of the pool.
      It’s a shame that insensitive Channel 7 Pooldeck interviewer wasn’t given lessons in empathy before he was let loose on our swimmers. His questions were hackneyed, at times rude & insensitive and usually too long & repetitive. Sack him & give the job to someone with empathy for the next International swimming meet.
      Also congrats to Giaan & Basil for their marvellous commentary – knowledgeable & succinct without screaming, shouting or embarrassing!!

    • I agree with Chris that the media has a lot to answer for , with all the pressure that they apply with their printed expectations which they publish so readily. Our athletes are to be admired just to be there representing Australia is such an achievement ,their dedication and application to their sport is amazing to say the least.

  2. I agree completely with Chris, Mary and Annie. Thank goodness the Media doesn’t manage to fool everyone. There are many, many Australians who admire our non medal winners just for doing their best. Their generosity when congratulating medal winners is to be admired and is a goal for others to achieve. I badly wanted to hug Cate when she spoke so bravely about accepting responsibility for her swims. Bronte speaks well too but I love how Cate looks at her to see if she needs support with answering a question. Girls, when you have finished with swimming, the Government should be looking at you for Ambassador positions throughout the world.

  3. These lovely girls have nothing to apologise for. Media people – who would be hard pushed to get out of bed and run for a bus in the morning – have been criticising and shoving Australian athletes of all sports as though they have no right to have an “off” day – even the great Michael Phelps didn’t come in the first four in his last swim – so HOW DARE they trash these two girls or any other wonderful Olympian.

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