From our special correspondent in Tokyo,

A huge blow of bamboo for all the tricolor delegation, which intended to start this promising Thursday with a gold medal in open water, but a blow of bamboo, above all, for Marc-Antoine Olivier, bronze in Rio, favorite in Tokyo, and dropped in the last lap.

Nothing announced the catastrophe, however.

Superb weather, high temperature as expected, Philippe Lucas chest hair in front of the giant screen installed on the bay of Odaiba, and a Frenchman in the leading pack from the first minutes of the race.

But we didn't know it yet, Marc-Antoine Olivier was already over-revving:

" I do not understand. I worked like crazy for five years. I had a much better level than in Rio but the general level has increased considerably. I still thought I would be able to go for gold… The German was very strong today, he set a pace throughout the race and it was monstrous, beautiful to see. But impossible for me to answer. I was already struggling to stay in the feet from the first laps. Muscularly, I couldn't take it anymore. Physically, I didn't have the cash register ”.

The thesis of the lack of work is here to be ruled out, or else it would mean that his trainer Philippe Lucas has softened over time, which nobody can believe.

So what ?

Stéphane Lecat, the director of the French open water team, had difficulty digesting.

“We knew the German's strategy, we knew what was going to happen.

Well done to Wellbrock.

Even Marc-Antoine did the right thing, but he exploded.

Top-level sport is ruthless.

Wellborck he did 12 weeks of training, eight at altitude… It's a failure for everyone, we have to question ourselves and him too ”.

Aubry forced to give up

The vice-world champion did not follow the same course, but he had prepared himself with applications for the hot currents of the Tokyo basin (the sea is at 30 degrees), in particular by installing a jacuzzi on his balcony or by swimming daily in a very hot pool in Montpellier. “The heat, I had worked it, that's why I did not go up in altitude and that I stayed in Montpellier. I don't understand why I didn't have the cash register. I did more mileage than usual. It's really hard to swallow. "

At least he was able to finish the 10km, unlike his compatriot David Aubry, who scared everyone by giving up on a stretcher a lap and a half from the end because of breathing difficulties.

The 2019 Worlds bronze medalist in the 1500m was doing better a few minutes after his race, but that didn't stop Lecat from giving him a good tackle in the throat:

“David hasn't known where he is for two years.

You can't do things for people, sometimes I'm more motivated than some people.

He gave up because he was not prepared ”.

A bad morning for everyone.


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