The Agony of Defeat

The Agony of Defeat

Des Linden, in the women’s division, and Leonard Korir, in the men’s, were favorites to make the U.S. Olympic team at the trials in Atlanta on Saturday. They finished fourth, which, a Times article explains, “can be the worst pain of all”:

Every four years, there are athletes who just miss out on a spot on the Olympic team. But there may be nothing crueler than just missing one of the six spots on the U.S. marathon team, which are decided in one make-or-break race.

The top three men and the top three women are in; everyone else is out. Few events require so much lonely, painful training; then the pain-filled, hit-or-miss qualifying competition leaves the entire field limping away and in need of weeks of recovery.

Have you ever experienced a devastating loss or disappointment in some aspect of school, sports, extracurriculars or another area of your life? What was it like? How did you bounce back from it, if at all? Did it change you profoundly, either for the better or the worse? What advice do you have for someone who falls short of a life-defining goal?

Tell us in the comments, then read the related article to learn more about how these athletes are dealing with a high-stakes loss.

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