Is Olympic gold more important than a Grand Slam win?
Rafael Nadal on Madrid's blue clay court (Image: Getty)
Defending gold medalist Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the tennis competition at the London games citing a flare up in his troublesome knees.
The injury flared again during his French Open defense four weeks ago. While he did not withdraw from Wimbledon he clearly was below par and lost in the third round to Czech player Lukas Rosol.
Even as defending gold medallist does he view a gold medal at Olympics as highly as a grand slam win?
It could be could argued if he did, it would have made sense to withdraw from Wimbledon to save himself to try and prepare for the Games instead. Although Nadal has stated that he is bitterly disappointed at having to withdraw, it raises the question of its value on the grand scheme of things.
We have seen example of other athletes compete with broken bones rather than give up the chance of Olympic glory. Two Equestrian competitors spring to mind, Gillian Rolten and Bill Roycroft. The latter actually checked himself out of hospital to finish the competition.
This is not to say those who have won the Olympic gold and no other grand slam would not rate it as their career highlight. Elena Dementieva, Marc Rosset and Miloslav Mecir are examples.
But what of those who are already grand slam winners. Where do they rate it? Will Andy Murray prefer to win the gold medal at the Wimbledon courts or the gold urn at the annual tournament?
Roger Federer has stated that his 2008 doubles gold medal is one of the highlights of his career. He said ONE not THE.
Perhaps the best quote that sums up that type of mindset was Sydney gold medallist Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov when reflecting on the win, “I would have traded all my other tournament titles EXCEPT my grand slams for this gold”. That clearly states that the Olympic win was not his career pinnacle.
Australian Bernard Tomic stated yesterday that he rates the gold medal higher than winning Wimbledon. Maybe after he wins both or either we will ask him to compare but at least one player has rated it as his Everest for now.
Several articles on the debate of what sports legitimately belong at the games have already been published at this web site. I can only concur with most. Perhaps the Ancient Greeks got it right in the first place.
No team sports, no second or third place. Only individuals compete and only winners acknowledged. On that score the only thing needing to be changed would be to allow women and perhaps clothing.