Tennis lost a bit more sheen at the Rio Olympics with world number 4 Stanislas Wawrinka pulling out due to a back injury. He joins a long list of athletes who have given the Olympics a miss due to reasons ranging from injuries to concerns over Zika virus, dope scandals to scheduling issues. Here's taking a look at some of the big names who won't be competing at the Games:
Tennis is probably the biggest casualty at Rio Olympics. The 2012 silver medallist (he won the gold in doubles with Wawrinka) opted out due to a knee injury and is likely to miss the remainder of the season. Joining the world number 3 are three other players in top 10 ATP rankings—Milos Raonic (7), Tomas Berdych (8) and Dominic Thiem (10). While Raonic and Berdych citing Zika fears, Thiem chose not to reveal the reason. In women's draw, Maria Sharapova is the biggest name to miss out, thanks to a doping scandal. Simona Halep (Zika virus) and Victoria Azarenka (pregnancy) are the other top tennis stars who will be missing in action.
Zika virus has been the nemesis for golf at the Rio Olympics. Of the top four golfers, three—Day (1), Dustin Johnson (2) and Jason Spieth (3) pulled out citing health concerns. World number 4 Rory McIlroy announced his withdrawal in June. Former world number 1 Tiger woods, too, would not be taking part due to a recurring back injury.
All dreams of ending a glorious career on a high note went up in smoke for the poster girl of pole vault. Aiming for a third gold in her fifth and final Olympics, Isinbayeva was left high and dry when the Russian track and field team was suspended over 'state-run' doping. The other two promising athletes to miss out were hurdler Sergey Shubenkov and high jumper Mariya Kuchina.
The legend was too “tired” to drag his 6'8” frame all the way to Rio. The NBA star played in the last three Olympics and won gold in 2008 and 2012. Looks like six consecutive trips to NBA finals took a toll on James. His teammate Kobe Bryant, too, will not be there because of his retirement. Joining him on the sidelines will be other star players like Stephen Curry and Chris Paul.
Three-time Olympic champion and the 5,000 and 10,000m world-record holder. Yet, no place in Ethiopia's four-man marathon team bound for Rio because Bekele did not meet the qualification requirements. He had missed more than a year because of injury and was getting into his stride by finishing third at the London Marathon in April, and winning the Great Manchester Run 10-k race in May. Protests by Bekele and his compatriots failed to move the authorities.
Australia's hopes in 100m hurdles rested on this 2012 gold medallist. But she tore her hamstring while training for the Olympics and had to pull out. She had recovered from a wrist injury and was expected to reach top form by August, but fate had other plans. Pearson won silver in 2008 Beijing Olympics and followed it up with the world title at Daegu in Korea in 2011.
India will sorely miss its 2012 silver medallist on the wrestling mat. The only Indian athlete to win two Olympic medals—the other being a bronze in Beijing in 2008—was engaged in a bitter legal tussle with Narsingh Yadav, with the former seeking a selection trial to decide who will represent the country in the 74kg category at Rio. But the High Court dismissed his plea, thus paving the way for Yadav to represent the country. Some of the other high-profile names missing for India's Rio contingent are: Boxers Mary Kom and Vijender Singh, shooter and 2012 silver medallist Vijay Kumar and shuttler Parupalli Kashyap.