RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After a long year of preparation for the Rio Olympics, swimmer Jessie Lacuna’s ride was over when he finished second to the last in his heat of the men’s 400-meter freestyle swimming last Saturday, August 7.
Lacuna finished 46th out of a field of 50 with a time of 4:01:70.
Aside from Lacuna, two other Filipino athletes were knocked out of action in the first day of competitions in Rio — table tennis paddler Ian Lariba and boxer Charly Suarez.
“I was disappointed, honestly,” related Lacuna to Rappler. “In swimming, it is not every time that you’ll do great. Most of the time, the results will not be in your favor. I was happy and excited when I was on the block. But I didn’t get it done. I just have to accept the result and offer no excuses.”
(PROFILE: Rio 2016: Jessie Lacuna)
With training over, Lacuna and his fellow athletes have instead watched the other events of their colleagues to cheer them on. “I cheer for my fellow countrymen,” he said of the experience of being a fan again.
“I enjoy the Olympic spirit and watch some of the finals in the evening to learn more. If we don’t go to the venues, we stay in the common room and watch the Olympic channel and talk to other athletes.”
Yet even inside the relative safety of the Olympic Village, the Filipinos and other athletes from other nations have heard of new threats. Since opening day, there have been several reported controlled detonations.
Some 85,000 soldiers and police have been assigned to the Olympic Games doubling the assignment from the London Olympiad.
“The past few days, we have heard of renewed threats but we can’t really pay attention to that not when we have other colleagues competing,” shared Lacuna who is in his second Olympics. “We just find ways to encourage and support each other. We have no plans on going out not when others are competing and with these threats.
“As for post-Rio, I’ll just concentrate on my studies and swim for my school. But I won’t think too far ahead.” – Rappler.com
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