May 23 2013 Latest news:
Sarah Shaffi, Olympics editor (news)
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Marathon runner Paula Radcliffe has withdrawn from the Olympics for medical reasons, saying it “can break your heart and spirit many times over when your body is simply unable to match what your heart and brain want it to do”.
Radcliffe has been suffering with a foot problem and had a fitness test today, after which it was concluded that she would not be able to race competitively to the best of her abilities, said UK Athletics (UKA) and the British Olympic Association (BOA).
The runner, for whom this would have been a fifth Olympics, said in a statement: “From the day when it was announced that London had won the bid, taking part and performing well in the London Olympic Games has been a major goal in my life.
“The goal of a fifth Olympics in my home country, what better? The chance to make amends to myself for bitter disappointments at the previous two Olympics.
“Through a lot of tough times it has kept me fighting, motivated and focused.
“That is why it hurts so much to finally admit to myself that it isn’t going to happen.”
Radcliffe said had the Olympics been six weeks earlier she could “have gone out there and run confidently knowing that I was in the best shape I had been in for a while”.
She continued: “However hard today is, finally closing the door on that dream, at least I can know that I truly have tried absolutely everything.
“Not one day was wasted in getting treatment, scans or interventions that might help. I cross trained as hard as I could whenever I was unable to run to give myself every chance should the pain settle.
“Now however, is the time to accept that it is just not going to settle in time.
“As desperate as I was to be part of the amazing experience of the London Olympics, I don’t want to be there below my best. If I can’t be there and give it my best, then I would rather someone else who can do that is able to be there.”
Radcliffe said she had “been through the mill emotionally and physically the past three weeks, cried more tears than ever, vented more frustration and at the same time calmly tried every direction and avenue available to heal myself”.
She said she would be supporting Team GB, and that she hoped her foot would recover.
Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt: “Throughout her career, Paula has epitomised the talent, courage and determination that it takes to become a world-class performer in any sport. We know how determined Paula was to compete here, but it wasn’t meant to be and we are disappointed for her.”
A replacement athlete will be nominated, and the BOA said it would work with the International Olympic Committee and International Association of Athletics Federations to secure approval under the Late Athlete Replacement policy.
The reserve for the women’s marathon is Freya Murray.