The wait for the Tokyo Olympics has been long and exciting, but it won’t just be the absence of fans that will make you feel eerie.
Everything will be different about this summer’s Olympics, and while the rescheduled games may be shrouded in controversy due to protests in Japan and growing concerns about the implications for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the omission of certain iconic faces will certainly feel strange. leave feeling.
With all that’s going on, it may have gone under the radar that some of the biggest names in Olympic history have called time for their storied careers.
Some simply because of age, others because of persistent injury or the desire to pursue other paths in life. Sports post takes a look at the big names who will no longer be on our television screens once the action kicks off in Japan.
The rescheduled Olympics are expected to see a string of big names missing from the action
It goes without saying that the most prominent star to hang his spikes is Usain Bolt.
The Jamaican sensation has seemingly forever been the banner of the Olympics.
With style, charisma galore and bottomless reserves of talent, Bolt was everything the Olympics should be.
For all his achievements, it was unfortunate to see Bolt’s glittering career come to a disappointing end when he retired at the last 50m of the 4x100m at the 2017 World Championships with a hamstring injury.
Usain Bolt was the face of the Olympics for years, but has shut down his career
It always seemed like Bolt was reserving his huge, breathtaking performances for the Olympics. His audience demanded and the lightning bolt never failed them.
At the 2008 Olympics, Bolt became the first man since American Carl Lewis in 1984 to win the 100m, 200m and 4×100m relay in a single Olympics and the first ever to set world records (9.69 sec, 7:30 p.m.). sec and 37.10 sec, respectively) in all three events.
He won an unprecedented three golds in consecutive Olympics between 2008 and 2016 in the 100 and 200 meters, and in 2009 ran his world record times of 9.58 and 19.19 in Berlin.
The Jamaican became a global superstar after his success on the track in Beijing in 2008
Bolt has teased a return to the sporting world outside of the Olympic sphere on numerous occasions, having taken on a 2018 football match with German giants Borussia Dortmund and also Central Coast Mariners.
In the end, however, it failed.
“I just do a lot of different things… the sporting life is over,” Bolt told ESPN in 2019. However, he is expected to be a guest when the action kicks off in Tokyo.
For years, Phelps was considered the kind of athlete who was so good at his field that he just didn’t want to retire.
Think along with Roger Federer or Tiger Woods.
In August 2016, the American shocked the world when he confirmed on the TODAY show that he would be getting out of the pool for good.
“I’m serious this time,” Phelps had to publicly insist after initially being lured out of retirement so he could compete in the Rio Games.
Five years ago, the swimming sensation still knew, deep in his bones, that he was still at the elite level to not only compete, but to keep taking the medals.
Medal machine Michael Phelps is another big star who will miss the action in Japan
And in the end he was right.
When he was 31, Phelps took home five gold medals and one silver when he left Rio. His achievements confirmed his title as the greatest swimmer of all time, winning 28 medals over his career, 23 of which were gold.
Phelps finished his last Rio competition with a gold medal in the 400-meter medley relay. He insisted it would be his last Olympic race, although he said the same after finishing the 2012 London Games, only to come out of retirement years later.
This time, Phelps won’t come back. The legacy has been sealed and now neatly packaged for the Hall of Fame.
The news came in late December after one of Britain’s top athletes pondered a tough decision.
Sir Bradley Wiggins announced his retirement from cycling and called for a 16-year career as a professional during which he won the Tour de France and a record eight Olympic medals.
The cyclist had had enough.
Wiggins was part of the British four-man pursuit that won gold at the Rio Olympics that summer, and despite teasing that he could continue in 2017, released an announcement via his Facebook page confirming he was quitting completely. the sport .
Bradley Wiggins, who won eight Olympic medals, announced his retirement in December 2016
Only Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny have more golds than Wiggins with six, but even with an extra silver each, they fall short of Wiggins’ record of eight medals.
In a suicide note, Wiggins told his supporters: “I was lucky enough to live a dream and fulfill my childhood wish to earn a living and make a career out of the sport I fell in love with when I was 12.
‘I met my idols and rode with and next to the best for 20 years. I have worked with the world’s best coaches and managers who I will always be grateful for their support.”
Under circumstances he certainly would have preferred not to deal with, Wiggins brought his time in the saddle to a close under some sort of cloud after both Sir Dave Brailsford and Shane Sutton, Team Sky’s general manager and former British Cycling technical director respectively, were questioned. . by MPs during a Culture, Media and Sport committee meeting about a ‘mystery package’ that was delivered to Wiggins during the Criterium du Dauphine 2011.
In March, Wiggins called for a new investigation to determine who Dr. Freeman had banned testosterone and who else knew about it – and admitted that the saga “stinks like heaven.”
Former British Cycling and Team Sky chief doctor Freeman was found guilty of ordering Testogel to the Manchester Velodrome in 2011 ‘knowing or believing’ it was an unnamed rider.
Speaking on his Eurosport podcastWiggins said, ‘The whole thing stinks of high heaven. It wants to look further.
“Yes, he was found guilty and (the drugs) entered the building, so it falls on (Freeman’s) head. Whose head else does it fall on? Can we look at it a little more, because what exactly happened? Someone has to know.’
Despite being the tender age of 24, Wilson caused a stir earlier this year after announcing that he would not be going to Tokyo and would end his sports career.
Injuries piled up and Team GB starlet Wilson had some tough decisions to make.
An ankle injury after Rio dropped him from a race to be fit for the 2017 World Cup, but he recovered in time to finish sixth in the all-around final. That’s when he realized something wasn’t right.
Team GB star Nile Wilson (left) retired this year at the age of 24 due to the strain on his body
Wilson added to his Commonwealth Games tally in 2018, winning gold in the all-around, horizontal bar and team event, as well as silver in the rings and parallel bars.
But in 2019, he suffered another injury and had to undergo corrective surgery on a bulging disc in his neck.
The Yorkshire gymnast admitted the prolonged pain was “unbearable” and had led to a spiral of anxiety and depression.
Be open to the BBC about his decision to retire so young, Wilson explained, “I said I’d quit gymnastics if I didn’t love the process anymore or my body won’t let me do it anymore, and both are true today.
“I’ve had a rough journey with injuries since my neck surgery with my spinal fusion and it’s been complication after complication for the past two years.
The Team GB star won a bronze medalist at the 2016 Rio Games but will be absent from Tokyo
“No matter how much I give, push and believe, my body just goes ‘no, mate, we’re not doing this anymore,’ so it definitely feels like the right time.” I’ve made this decision and I’m happy with it.’
Wilson made history in Rio when he became the first Briton to claim an Olympic medal on the high bar and win bronze.
He set the curtain on his career with European, World and Commonwealth awards to his name.