So overmuch of these Olympics person been filled with stories astir however results and medals aren't ever arsenic important arsenic the hard travel to get this far.
That is not the communicative of Emma Coburn.
America's preeminent steeplechaser for the past decennary flamed retired Wednesday nighttime successful a last that was arsenic stunning for her arsenic it was thrilling for her US teammate, second-place finisher Courtney Frerichs.
In a contention marred by a ruptured achilles for Australia's Genevieve Gregson, Coburn crossed the enactment successful 14th place; past recovered retired aboriginal that she had been disqualified due to the fact that she stepped disconnected the way aft a last-lap stumble implicit the barrier.
"It sucks to suck connected the biggest stage," Coburn said.
To her, it was arsenic inexplicable arsenic it was unacceptable.
She has spent the past 10 years perfecting a trade that erstwhile had precise small to bash with Americans connected the planetary signifier but present precise overmuch does. Coburn won bronze astatine the past Olympics, golden and metallic astatine the past 2 satellite championships. She has won the US title successful 9 of the past 10 years.
She came to Tokyo not truthful overmuch hoping for, but expecting, to bring location a medal.
Some people, she knows, mightiness chopped her slack.
As has played retired clip and again connected the Olympic stage, the trip, the pressure, the year-long hold caused by COVID-19, to accidental thing of the searing unit that accompanies large expectations, are each valid reasons to absorption much connected an athlete's travel than the result.
But arsenic Coburn stood there, chewing gum, manus connected her hip, attempting to process her disappointment, she was having nary of that. No, she said, steeplechase does not specify her arsenic a person. But it is what she does for a living.
"We're nonrecreational athletes," she said. "Obviously, everyone has their ain experiences.
"But for me, it's astir results and it's astir everyone successful my life. I've got my teammates, my husband, my sponsors, my friends, everyone successful my beingness gives everything to me. So the travel is important and we're going to bask the journey. But erstwhile you suck, like, that's not portion of this journey."
Possibly the astir frustrating portion for Coburn is that she could not spot it coming. Sure, she said, during warmups and successful qualifying, she felt small nicks and twinges, but thing she hadn't dealt with before.
"I walked connected that starting enactment reasoning I was coming location with an Olympic medal," she said.
Almost from the start, this contention did not spell to plan.
It didn't assistance that the tract got strung retired early, with Coburn hanging astir successful a 2nd battalion down Frerichs, who began to unfastened a monolithic gap. With a thigh to go, Peruth Chemutai, the archetypal pistillate from Uganda to triumph an Olympic golden medal, joined, and yet passed, the American.
It was a two-woman race. Coburn was obscurity adjacent it.
"I should person been cleanable today," she said. "I should person been excellent. And I wasn't. And I don't deliberation there's thing we could person done otherwise successful signifier to marque contiguous little of a disaster. Which is upsetting."
It felt similar the tiniest of victories, Coburn said, that she was capable to decorativeness the past 2 laps erstwhile her assemblage felt a mode it hadn't felt successful years. For some, warring done that agony mightiness person been a triumph of sorts.
But successful the aftermath of her astir disappointing contention ever, Coburn was having occupation uncovering a glimmer of light. She was besides having occupation uncovering a crushed for this.
Injuries happen, "and it's heartbreaking," she said.
"And evidently we're seeing a batch of mental-health issues. But for maine to travel here, to beryllium physically truly prepared, and to endure similar I did, is not wherefore my 20 closest friends and household person been supporting maine for the past 5 years. It's not what I'm susceptible of. I cognize I request to bash better."
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