Aussie media lament ‘cruel’ end for Magnussen
Australian media hyped up James Magnussen as the country’s great Olympic swimming hope, and on Thursday described his failure to snare gold in an event he was expected to dominate as “cruel”.
The 100m freestyle world champion, who had warned his Olympic rivals to “brace” themselves at the Australian trials last March, was shattered after a split-second loss in the London final on Wednesday evening.
The straight-talking Aussie was pipped to the coveted Olympic gold by American Nathan Adrian by a heart-breaking one-hundredth of a second in a lunge for the wall in the nerve-tingling final.
The Sydney Morning Herald’s online headline said it was “The cruellest touch.”
“The smallest possible margin - one hundredth of a second,” it said.
“Yet, for James Magnussen, sufficient to create a lifetime of second-guessing, recrimination and regret. Or, just maybe, to inspire him to set things right.”
Broadsheet The Australian reported in a similar vein, also dwelling on the performance of the team, which is heading for its worst Olympics in 20 years.
“The brutality of the Olympic Games was brought home to Magnussen in the cruellest way when he was touched out by the narrowest possible margin - 0.01 second,” the newspaper said.
“It is less than the eye can see, but unfortunately not less than the clock can measure.”
Australia has won just one gold so far in the pool and is on track for its worst Games since Barcelona in 1992. In Beijing four years ago they collected six gold medals.
The tabloid Sydney Daily Telegraph called Magnussen’s defeat “heart-breaking” under a “Maggy’s pain” headline.
“Missile defused”, it said, referring to his nickname.
“Nerves, the first-time experience of the Olympics, the pressure he put on himself by foolishly imagining he was unbeatable until the reality check of recent days ... all factored in.”
His loss came three days after Australia’s medal-less flop in the 4x100m freestyle relay, where Magnussen swam below par in the lead-off swim.