A Greek weightlifter shed tears while announcing his retirement from the sport after failing to advance at the Tokyo Olympics as he also lamented how lack of financial support severely affected his preparation.
“I’m not crying because I didn’t have a good performance. I’m crying because it’s over,” Theodoros Iakovidis said in his post-game interview.
It’s really saddening and I can’t take it anymore.
The 30-year-old Iakovidis failed to qualify in the finals of the 96-kilogram weightlifting category at the Tokyo Olympics.
In his interview that has now turned viral in Greece, he bewailed the lack of support from the government and from the private sector in his Olympic bid preparations.
“It’s really saddening being ashamed of going to your physical therapist because you know he won’t get any money from you, knowing your situation,” Iakovidis said.
Iakovidis, who also competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics, said there were even instances where he was forced to walk to training due to lack of gas money.
We need to say a huge ‘I’m sorry’ to Theodoros.
“It’s really saddening and I can’t take it anymore.”
He revealed that he only received 200 Euros (P11,871) as support from the Hellenic Weightlifting Federation while he was training.
“Unfortunately, I cannot perform at 100% and be focused on training in order to have a performance suitable to the flag I’m wearing. I apologize if someone thinks that I’m running away from it but I’m really tired and can’t handle this situation any longer,” he said.
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After his Olympic campaign fell short, he said he just wants to spend time now with his family.
“I want to stop, relax and go back to my family and friends and hug them and tell them a big thank you since they were my motivation all these years,” he said.
After his interview blew up in Greece, a number of popular Greek athletes expressed support. These include NBA champions Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, who went home to Greece yesterday, August 1.
“We need to say a huge ‘I’m sorry’ to Theodoros. Not only to him, but to everyone. He can’t pick up all of that weight on his own. We are all with him” Thanasis said as quoted by the news organization The Greek Reporter.
“I’m happy he spoke out and that he cried. I know how hard it is to go through what he’s going through. I don’t know Theodoros Iakovidis personally, but we talked a little bit on Instagram. I’m with him,” Giannis said in the same account.