London olympics 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Four years for a split second.
At the end of the day that is what it is
all about in many Olympic sports.
Sure, there are World and European
Championships, but no child falls asleep at night fantasizing about
It is Olympic glory that everyone craves.
In the depths of
despair, when each second of training is torture and the pain just doesn’t seem
worthwhile, it is the Olympic dream that keeps them going.
The dream to
shine on the biggest stage of them all, to peak when it matters most, to be
crowned the best in the moment of truth.
For Israeli judoka Alice
Schlesinger, that moment arrives on Tuesday.
This is it.
lifetime of dedication faces the ultimate test.
True, the 24-year-old may
not be contesting her final Olympics, but there is little doubt she will ever
get a better chance to win a medal, a better opportunity at sporting
She has either got what it takes or she hasn’t.
a stark reality, but that is the life of an Olympian, especially in the cruel
sport of judo.
A loss of concentration for a split second and you will
find yourself on your back, out of the competition, wondering why you ever
signed up for such a life.
That sickening feeling is the nightmare of
It will feel even worse for Schlesinger if she stumbles on
Tuesday as she knows there is simply no excuse for failure.
A first round
bye means Schlesinger, a former World and European championships medalist, will
begin her competition in the last 16, three wins from the podium.
second round of the under-63 kg competition, Schlesinger will face the winner of
the encounter between Hilde Drexler and Rizlen Zouak.
Drexler is the
favorite to advance and Schlesinger will not be looking forward to facing her,
losing all three of her career meetings against the Austrian, including twice
last year in the World and European Championships.
Schlesinger, ranked No. 4 in the world, could not have asked for a better draw,
with Drexler currently placed at No. 16.
World No. 5, Urska Zolnir, is
Schlesinger’s likely opponent in the quarters, a tested veteran, but one
Schlesinger has beaten in two of their last three meetings.
A place in
the semis guarantees Schlesinger at least two chances at glory, with the
semifinal losers to fight for a bronze medal in the
Schlesinger has always had the talent and in recent years she
has also gained valuable experience, tasting glory time and again in major
She has waited all her life for Tuesday and now the time
has arrived to realize her promise.
It will either be a total triumph or
a complete catastrophe.
There is nothing in between for
She will either realize her deepest desires or regret this
day for the rest of her life.
And all shall be decided in a blink of an
eye. Four years for a split second.