Tokyo was not a big Olympics for some big names who failed to stick to their billing. Here are some of the stars that didn’t shine on the biggest stage of the game.
Japanese gymnast Achimura came to the Games hoping to add the last chapter of a story to his Olympic career.
Instead, his Tokyo campaign became a nightmare when his hometown favorite slipped from the horizontal bar on the first day, failing to qualify for the finals.
The 32-year-old chose not to defend the back-top title he won in 2012 and 2016 due to persistent shoulder problems, preferring to focus on the same equipment.
“In the last three Olympics, I’ve been able to meet the level of performance I’ve achieved in training – but not this time.”
But a disappointed Achimura hinted that he could delay retirement until after the World Championships in Japan in October, which could give him a chance to move up to a higher position.
The US sprinter arrived in Japan to support the inclusion of an Olympic gold medal in his 2019 World Championship 200m crown and to lead a new generation of American speedstars in the post-Usain Bolt era.
But the 24-year-old from Florida struggled to rediscover his best form in the 200 meters, avoiding shock in the semi-finals and losing to Canada’s Andre de Grass in the final.
After spending the world’s fastest time this year with a time of 9.77 seconds at a meeting in Florida in July, the Lions teammate was a huge favorite in the 100-meter hurdles at the Bromwell Games.
But the 26-year-old ignored the pace from the start in Tokyo, finishing fourth in his initial heat with 10.05 seconds, before finishing in the semifinals after handling just 10.00.
Osaka lit the Olympic carpet so that the return to tennis after a break due to mental health reasons at the start of the Games would not be tarnished.
She was knocked out in the third round after losing in straight sets to silver medalist Markata Vondrosova, saying the pressure on her Olympic debut to win Japan’s first tennis gold medal was too great.
Hometown expectations weigh on badminton star Momota, a two-time world champion who entered the Tokyo Games as the top seed after winning a record 11 titles in 2019.
The 26-year-old lost in the first round to an unseeded opponent, admitting he was defeated in the Olympic spotlight.
Third star Dia Seto hoped to defend her 400m and 200m medal titles in Tokyo but failed to make it to the finals and later finished fourth.
The Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon titles are already in the bag, with Djokovic rarely trying to become the first man to win a Golden Slam – all four major and one-year Olympic gold.
Djokovic reached the semifinals and defeated Alexander Zverev by one set and a break. He then destroyed himself in the bronze medal, breaking the racquet of Pablo Carino Bosta before being knocked out of the mixed doubles match for third place.
Inspired by the bitter memories of being knocked out of the 2016 quarterfinals, the United States once again arrived in Tokyo to become the first women’s team to win a World Cup and an Olympic double by winning a gold medal.
But Sweden’s 3-0 defeat in their opening game snatched an unbeaten run of 44 matches and never clicked for a side that is still dominated by veterans Megan Repino, Carly Lloyd and Alex Morgan. The dust is formed.
The first defeat to Canada in 20 years in the semi-finals meant that the Americans had to lose the bronze medal.