The most traditional lesson of the Summer Olympics is that there are winners and losers. During a race, if someone comes in first, we recognize that someone must inevitably come in last. We empathize with the athletes who give everything they have and come up short, we cheer for the champions who always seem to give just a little bit more, and our hearts break for those who wanted to compete, yet found themselves hampered by injury.
So it goes for Mike Rodgers and Jeff Demps, two American sprinters who just swapped places for the London games that start on Friday. Rodgers endured a stress fracture in his left foot, making the very idea of running sound painful. Understandably frustrated, he claimed not to have any pain in his foot, but doctors insisted that the X-ray suggested otherwise. USOC rules indicate that an athlete cannot enter the games if there are concerns from a doctor, however small or large. “I probably won’t be going now because of this stupid rule,” said Rodgers.
He’s right on one account. He won’t be going. But whether or not it’s a stupid rule is another issue entirely. Replacing him on the track will be Jeff Demps, a former running back with the Florida Gators. During his early college career, Demps was able to match the world junior record time of 10.01 seconds for the 100 meter dash. So who knows? Perhaps the loss of Rodgers means a greater chance of gold for the United States, hanging on the legs and feet of Jeff Demps.
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