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For every Olympic dream realised, a dozen more fall apart

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Emmet Brennan: ‘You train your whole life to get here and my body just wasn’t playing ball.’ Photo: Ramsey Cardy

Emmet Brennan: ‘You train your whole life to get here and my body just wasn’t playing ball.’ Photo: Ramsey Cardy

Simone Biles: 'There is more to life than gymnastics'

Simone Biles: 'There is more to life than gymnastics'

Nadia Power finished a disappointing seventh in her heat

Nadia Power finished a disappointing seventh in her heat

Liam Jegou in action during the men’s C1 canoe slalom semi-final. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Liam Jegou in action during the men’s C1 canoe slalom semi-final. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

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Emmet Brennan: ‘You train your whole life to get here and my body just wasn’t playing ball.’ Photo: Ramsey Cardy

See their tears. Feel their pain. Come to understand just how much it means, how much it hurts. Because it can hurt a lot.

These are the athletes who won’t come back to a welcome party, and no TV crew will ask them for an interview at the airport. As they look around the Olympic village this week, there will be many others just like them — men and women whose dreams were shattered on sport’s biggest stage — but it could still feel like the loneliest place on earth.

It was a little before 3.0pm on Monday at Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre in Tokyo when Liam Jegou came our way. The 25-year-old had bleary eyes that looked to have shed many tears while he’d been cocooned in the athletes’ area.


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