London Diary: A golden opportunity squandered

This was supposed to be Alice Schlesinger's day. This was her chance. But it simply wasn’t to be.

August 1, 2012 05:50
1 minute read.
Israeli judoka Alice Schlesinger

Israeli judoka Alice Schlesinger 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

For every Olympic medalist’s smile, there are thousands of tears shed.

For every second of elation at the Games, there are hours of anguish.

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For Alice Schlesinger there were tears and anguish to last a lifetime on Tuesday.

This was supposed to be her day.

This was her chance.

But it simply wasn’t to be.

Schlesinger will live to fight another day and is confident of taking part in her third Olympics in Rio in four years time.

However, overcoming Tuesday’s dejection could take a while if not an eternity.

Schlesinger’s face after her final fight told you all you needed to know about how she was feeling.

She eventually also found the words to describe her emotions but there was no need.

Eyes red from crying and a face peppered with purple bruises told the story of what she was enduring far better.

There should be no doubt regarding the absolute effort invested by Schlesinger and there should be no question of the courage she showed.

She knows that.

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But that would have been of scant consolation on Tuesday night as she tried to fall asleep at the Olympic Village.

An Olympic medal is such an elusive accomplishment and Schlesinger had as good a chance as she could have hoped for in London.

But eventual gold-medalist Urska Zolnir proved to be too strong in the quarterfinals and Schlesinger was always going to struggle against World and European champion Gevrise Emane in the repechage after injuring her elbow in the previous fight.

The nature of the Olympics means that the public will quickly forget about Schlesinger’s heartbreak, with other athletes to make new headlines starting today.

But for Schlesinger there is little solace.

While her conquerors rejoice in their Olympic glory, she is left to mull over what might have been.

Sports is not a matter of life or death and is also not “much more important than that” as Liverpool’s legendary coach Bill Shankly once said.

However, for Schlesinger it was everything on Tuesday.

And now the dream is over – at least for four more years.

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