It was therefore not surprising that Van Rouwendaal chose the track of the Brazilian leader at three quarters of the race. With that, ‘SvR’ seemed to have made the right choice for a long time. During the fight in view of the plate, the 29-year-old Brazilian, the woman who always competed for the marbles but never won a big prize, turned out to be in a class of her own this time.
The direct duel turned out not to be the key to success in Tokyo. Where Van Rouwendaal was ahead of the Hungarian Anna Olasz by three-tenths of a second during the European Championships in Budapest in May, she ended up 0.9 seconds short of Cunha on the very last of a total of 10,000 meters in Tokyo Bay.
It was a defeat she could live with. Rio’s gold had brought peace to her mind, she said before the game. “My career has already been successful. Anything I gain more is a perk.”
Of course she would have liked to defend her Olympic title, a feat no one has ever succeeded in doing. “I was in better shape than I was five years ago and I swam smart. But there was someone who was better. Actually, I couldn’t have done better as a favourite.”
This time she only had to bow to a Brazilian who was simply better. In three years’ time, Van Rouwendaal will have another chance, in the capital of the country where she grew up.
“Judging by today’s result, I’m certainly not the big favorite in Paris anymore,” she laughed. “That is a good starting point for devising a new tactic there.”
Van Rouwendaal is happy despite Plan B failed and is already thinking of Paris 2024
Source link Van Rouwendaal is happy despite Plan B failed and is already thinking of Paris 2024