Published On: Wed, Aug 3rd, 2016

Top 5 Olympics heartbreaks in recent memory

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Although the Olympics games are centuries old and have witnessed a fair share of heartbreaks some of which you probably wouldn’t find on this list which has been compiled from the Olympic games of 1988 in Seoul to 2012 Olympics in London.

5. Paula Radcliffe (Great Britain/Athlete) – Athens 2004

Paula Radcliffe was widely tipped to walk away with the gold in Athens. However, she suffered an injury to her leg just two weeks prior to the event and had to use a high dose of anti-inflammatory drugs. This had an adverse effect on her stomach, hindering food absorption.

She ended up withdrawing from the race after 36 km (22 mi). Five days later she started in the 10,000 metres but, still suffering from the effects of the marathon, retired with eight laps remaining.

4. Roger Federer (Switzerland/Tennis Player)- London 2012

A 17th Grand Slam title, World number 1 ranking in the run up to the Olympics and the hallowed lawns of Wimbledon, the stage was set perfectly for Roger Federer to win his maiden Olympics gold medal, the only piece of Gold missing from his overflowing trophy cabinet. Things were going smooth for the man from Switzerland as he had just recently defeated Britain’s hope Andy Murray in a 4 set final in Wimbledon and was on course to capture the elusive singles gold to go with the one he and Stan Wawrinka won 4 years back in Beijing. But Juan Martin Del Potro had other plans. Back then the tower of Tandil was looked upon as one of the successors to Federer’s No 1 throne that is before the Argentine’s tryst with injuries.

Federer and Del Potro played a marathon semi final that lasted 4 hours and 26 minutes (thank-goodness for the 3 set system followed by Olympics or who knows the Isner-Mahut match would have been in jeopardy). This was not only the longest singles tennis match in Olympic history played with the best of three format but also the longest such match in the Open era. Federer somehow prevailed 19-17 in the third set to set up another final showdown with Andy Murray.

Maybe it was Andy’s brilliance that day or may be destiny had conspired against Federer, as the Brit outplayed Federer for a straight sets win thereby prolonging Federer’s quest for Olympics gold.

3. Lawrence Lemieux (Canada/Sailing) – Seoul 1988

This might not be a heartbreak but rather an act of unprecedented valor in Olympics. Canadian Lawrence Lemieux was well on his way to a podium finish when he spotted a two-person Singaporean boat, racing in another competition, in distress. Lemieux cut over to the capsized vessel and rescued both athletes, sacrificing his Olympic dream but earning worldwide adulation for his selflessness.

Such was his act of courage that International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Saramanch later awarded Lemieux an honorary medal for his heroics.

2. Gurucharan Singh (India/Boxer) – 2000 Sydney

When you think about boxing in India Mary Kom and Vijender Singh come to mind in an  instant, but long before them was a boxer who could have become a household name in India had it not been for a sudden death point that snatched a medal from him. During the quarterfinal match, Singh made an early lead against Ukraine’s Andriy Fedchuk, he failed to evade a punch in the last round until Fedchuk drew a sudden death point to end the match.

Such was the impact of the loss that Gurucharan migrated to USA to pursue a career in professional boxing. In 2001 Gurucharan signed up for Pro Boxing in the United States. His first bout was with a lesser known Derrick Minter which he won in the first round on TKO. He was nick named Guru “The Storm” Nagra and had unbeatable run for record 20 straight fights with 11 KO/TKO’s before losing his first match in 2010.

1.  Derek Redmond (Great Britain/Athlete) – 1992 Barcelona

Derek Redmond’s Barcelona Olympics is perhaps the one of the biggest Olympics heartbreak’s in recent memory. His is the epitome of never give up. While running a 400-meter semifinal heat at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Redmond pulled up lame with about 250 meters remaining.

Determined to complete the race, Redmond waved off medical attention and began hopping towards the finish line on his one good leg.


What was a stirring moment of perseverance turned into a full-on tear jerk moment when Redmond’s father, Jim, bounded down from the stands and helped carry his son down the home stretch.

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