When everything is going perfectly, when talent and luck meet and the successes appear as if they had been mapped out by a higher power - then it is time to become suspicious.
Can that really be the whole truth?
Am I going to close my eyes to the unknown with excitement?
Do I lose sight of the question: What is the threat?
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On Thursday the rower Oliver Zeidler made the experience that life with his preferred children sometimes has different plans than they do. Instead of warming up for the final in the semifinals of the one-man competition at the rowing regatta in Tokyo, he had to fight a painful fight . And instead of letting out a loose end, he slumped in his boat and the world around him went black. The German rowing golden boy from Ingolstadt, who set out to become Olympic champion, had lost third place in the finish, which would have just been enough to make it into the final, to Russian Alexander Wyazowkin. He was out. He was only left with the B final for seventh to twelfth place.
With 500 meters to go, Zeidler was a short distance behind the leading Greek Stefanos Ntouskos, but still bow to bow with the Dane Sverri Nielsen - Woyzowkin was two seconds behind.
But the Russian must have felt that Zeidler was battered, he attacked the German favorite.
And he couldn't hold back.
He had actually intended to win the race in order to secure the cheapest track for his hoped-for gold ride the next day.
Now not only had this plan failed, but everything was gone.
After leaving the water, Zeidler lay on the jetty for minutes, could not get up and had to be cooled with wet towels. "He worked to the full and is now flat, completely broken," said his father Heino Zeidler, who is also his trainer. Rowers are familiar with such conditions. You are ready to fully exhaust yourself in a race. Your organism gets into an extreme oxygen debt and collapses. And the frustration over the defeat makes everything worse.
Zeidler's fate were the conditions. There was a strong push wind and the swell was unpleasant - not yet unfair, but especially a hindrance for people who are not used to such disturbances. Like Zeidler, for example. “He loves shallow water, small waves, and a slight sliding wind,” said his father. “These are his routes, he copes wonderfully with them. The wind was the most extreme enemy. "
Not just for Oliver Zeidler. The day before, the women's double foursome had fallen victim to the swell and was in second place shortly before the finish line. Bug woman Daniela Schultze made a technical mistake, she caught "cancer" and the medal was gone. "We had our clear four medal hopes and see that two of them are now gone," said Mario Woldt, the sports director of the German Rowing Association. He described the conditions as "challenging". But there was no discussion of any kind among the nations. The Italian men's quadruple also failed in the final due to a "cancer". The men's lightweight double scull even capsized in the semifinals.
Zeidler, it became apparent in Tokyo, has not only made a breathtaking development in the skiff in recent years - he was also extremely lucky with the weather.
It was not until autumn 2016, when he was twenty, that the gigantic athlete switched from swimming to rowing boats, although he comes from a passionate and very successful rowing family: his grandfather Hans-Johann Färber was Olympic champion in 1972 with the so-called bull quad.
His aunt Olympic champion in 1988 with the GDR eight.
So it was obvious that this switch was a good idea.
And really: a year later he finished second at the U23 European Championship, in 2018 he was promoted to the national squad, and in 2019 he became world champion and European champion.
After a fourth place at the EM 2020, he confirmed his claim once again this year: European champion again.
Zeidler and his father wanted to do everything right for their Olympic gold mission: he trained as long as possible on his home track in Munich-Oberschleißheim and did without the preparation in Kinosaki, where, unlike on the Olympic track, people rowed on flowing water .
Instead, Zeidler acclimatized himself on the ergometer in his parents' sauna.
But all the dedication was not enough.
“In the end, a journey came to an end for us,” said Mario Zeidler in Tokyo.
“We have achieved a very high level of performance in recent years and maybe sometimes performed beyond our means.” Meanwhile, the deeply depressed son did not want to say anything.
Finally, he stated in a statement: "This is not really my water at the moment, and that's why I failed a little."