All, except Tiger Woods, have won gold medals in the Games gone by
With the 2020 Olympics postponed until 2021, there are fears the delay will shatter the gold medal hopes of many ageing athletes. A looks at five evergreen stars for whom a delayed Tokyo Games might be a step too far.
ROGER FEDERER: The 20-time Grand Slam champion, who will be 40 in August 2021, won the Olympic gold when he partnered Stan Wawrinka to the men’s doubles title at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Federer was a quarterfinalist in singles in China, silver medallist in 2012 in London before injury forced him to skip the 2016 Games in Rio.
In Sydney, in 2000, Federer made the semifinals in singles but he still remembers Australia fondly as the place where he first started his romance with Mirka Vavrinec, who is now his wife.
“Overall, it was probably the most unbelievable Olympics I ever had,” said Federer, who was also Switzerland’s flag-bearer in Beijing and in Athens in 2004 where he had exited in the second round.
SERENA WILLIAMS: The US great will be 40 in September next year although her desire to play in Tokyo might not be as pressing as that of Federer’s. Serena already has four gold medals — singles at London in 2012 and women’s doubles with sister Venus in 2000, 2008 and 2012.
The sisters lost their opening round match in Rio in 2016 while Serena’s gold medal defence in singles ended at the hands of Elina Svitolina in the third round.
TIGER WOODS: Woods, who will turn 45 this December, would have struggled to make the US team for the Games had it had remained in its 2020 slot. He is currently only the sixth-ranked American, with just the top four guaranteed to make the squad.
Woods, the winner of 15 Majors, has been fighting a recurrence of a back injury so at least the delay to 2021 for the Olympics gives him renewed hope of a golden swansong. Organisers would be desperate for Woods to play after he missed the return of golf at the 2016 Games in Rio due to injury.
LIN DAN: The colourful and controversial Chinese badminton superstar will be 37 by the time the next Games roll around. Lin already has gold from Beijing and London to add to his five World titles.
However, there is a hint of unfinished business for Lin who was defeated in the bronze medal match in Rio in 2016 by great rival Lee Chong Wei, the man he had beaten in two finals.
ALLYSON FELIX: The only female track and field athlete in history to win six Olympic gold medals, Felix had spent the last two years preparing for a golden farewell at the Tokyo Olympics.
Felix, who turns 35 at the end of this year, will be racing against Father Time as she attempts to improve her tally in what will be her fifth consecutive Olympics appearance. The American star can take comfort from the fact she is by no means the oldest woman to chase Olympic glory in sprint events. Merlene Ottey was 40 when she anchored Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team to a bronze medal in 2000.
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