Although they were favored to win gold at the Olympics, some Americans did not even win a medal. In a particularly cruel twist, two sprinters did not even reach the quarter-finals at the 1972 Games in Munich.
1. Excited decathlete Dave Johnson settles for bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Games
In 1992, American decathletes Dan O’Brien and Dave Johnson starred in a $ 30 million Reebok ad campaign that caused a stir. But neither of them won gold at the Olympics in Spain. O’Brien, the world decathlon champion, failed to make the US Olympic team. Right before the Games, gold medal favorite Johnson suffered a painful stress fracture in his right foot – an injury he kept under wraps for fear of giving contestants a psychological advantage. “It hurt so much I could barely step on it,” Johnson said. He settled for bronze.
2. A programming error costs American sprinters at the 1972 Munich Games
American sprinter Eddie Hart was widely favored to win the 100 meters. His teammate Rey Robinson was also set to win a medal. But neither of them reached the start line of the quarter-finals due to a timing issue. US track coach Stan Wright, working on a dated schedule, gave them a bad start time. “I don’t know if I really understood what pain was, but that day I found out,” Hart recalls. “It hurts. There was no recourse, no second chance, no appeal.”
3. The Fall of Mary Decker at the 1984 Los Angeles Games
In one of the most iconic photos in Olympic history, American middle distance runner Mary Decker cried in pain after colliding with South African Zola Budd midway through the 3,000-meter final feminine. The much-favored Decker, who lost a chance at a medal in America’s boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, led most of the race. But then she got tangled up with Barefoot Budd, fell and hurt her hip and didn’t finish. Budd, competing for Great Britain, was seventh. Decker’s response when Budd tried to apologize after the race: “Don’t bother.”
4. Jim Ryun’s protests rejected at the Munich Games in 1972
Ryun, the world mile record holder, was the favorite in the 1,500-meter race after winning silver at the Olympics four years earlier. But he fell during his first qualifying heat after colliding with another rider. Stung in both ankles during the race, he filed a protest claiming he had been fouled, but it was dismissed. “I felt I was doing a very smart race from the point of view of not getting into traffic,” he told reporters, “and the next thing I knew was I was on the ground trying to come to my senses… “
5. Marion Jones disappoints at the Athens 2004 Games
At the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, sprinter Jones won three gold and two bronze, making her the first woman to win five medals at one time. She was also due to win a medal in Greece. But faced with doping allegations, Jones placed fifth in the long jump, her only individual event, and her 4 x 100-meter relay team missed the bat in the final and failed to place. In 2007, Jones admitted to using performance enhancing substances and was stripped of her Olympic medals.
6. NBA stars falter at the 2004 Athens Games
With a roster that included NBA veterans Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, Stephon Marbury and rookies LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade, the US men’s basketball team seemed like a good bet for the gold medal. . But the Americans finished the preliminary game with a 3-2 record, losing to Puerto Rico and Lithuania. The United States defeated No.1 seeded Spain in the quarter-finals but lost 89-81 in the semi-finals to the eventual champion Argentina. The Americans settled for bronze, causing this title in the Los Angeles Times: “The United States had a lot of stars but no real team. ”
7. Ryan Lochte caught lying at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Games
Lochte, one of America’s most decorated Olympic swimmers with 12 medals, was suspended for 10 months by USA Swimming during the 2016 Games after he and three teammates admitted to lying about a threat theft. ‘a gun at a gas station in Rio. Witnesses and surveillance video showed the intoxicated swimmers vandalized toilets, causing security guards to draw their weapons. Prior to the incident, Lochte was part of the gold medalist 4x200m relay team; he subsequently finished fifth in the 200-meter individual medley, an event in which he was expected to win a medal. Charges brought by Brazilian authorities against Lochte were eventually dropped.
8. Lolo Jones stumbles in the 100-meter hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Games
With just two hurdles to overcome, the much-favored Jones stumbled and was seventh. Her teammate Dawn Harper won the event and Jones cried. “These are the obstacles. You have to overcome the 10 and if you can’t, you are not supposed to be the champion, ”she told the New York Times. Four years later, at the London Summer Olympics, she failed to win a medal. At the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Jones competed for an American bobsleigh team that finished 11th.
9. A shock of women’s football at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Games
The Americans, World Cup champions and three-time Olympic champions, were largely favored. Their star-studded lineup included Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Hope Solo, and Megan Rapinoe. But a shocking loss to Sweden in the quarterfinals in a penalty shootout eliminated the Americans, the first outing for an American team in six Olympics. Solo, who lost time before the final shooting kick by changing his goalkeeper gloves, sparked controversy afterwards, calling the Swedes a “bunch of cowards” and saying that “unfortunately the better team did not win “.
10. Gymnast McKayla Maroney slips at the London 2012 Games
Strongly favored to win gold in vault, Maroney pulled off her first attempt but the 16-year-old slipped on her second, landing on her butt and settling for silver behind Sandra Izbasa of Romania. Maroney’s disappointment manifested itself on the catwalk, as she made a pursed-lip scowl that quickly became a viral meme with the saying “McKayla is not impressed”. During a visit to the White House with his teammates in the fall following the Games, Maroney posed with President Barack Obama, each having performed “The Face”.
READ MORE: Amazing moments in women’s Olympic gymnastics