The greatly anticipated Tokyo Olympics are just a little over a month away. The Games will provide athletes the opportunity to make their mark on the biggest stage of all.
Over the years, several prominent athletes have gone on to define their sport with incredible performances in the Olympics. Several of these sporting icons will be desperately missed during the XXXII Olympiad. Without further ado, let's discuss some of these legends and their glorious careers:
Carolina Marin (Badminton)
Carolina Marin is the reigning badminton Olympic Champion after she conquered gold in Rio in 2016. She has also won the prestigious World Championship thrice – in 2014, 2015 and 2018, become the only female badminton player to accomplish this feat.
The Spaniard is also a five-time European Champion, winning the title in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2021. However, the year soon turned into a nightmare for Marin when she ended up suffering a serious injury in training. She ended up tearing the meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee and will need surgery.
As a result, the defending Olympic Champion will miss the Tokyo Olympics. Indian shuttler PV Sindhu, who had to settle for silver against Carolina Marin in the final of the Rio 2016 Olympic Badminton Competition, sent her a heartfelt message. Sindhu wished for Marin's quick recovery and hopes to see her on the court soon.
Usain Bolt (Athletics)
Arguably the greatest sprinter of all time, Usain Bolt decided to hang up his shoes after the 2017 World Championships. He achieved worldwide fame and recognition following his double sprint victory in world record times at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Bolt set a new 100m world record of 9.58 seconds in the 2009 World Championship. He's an 11-time World Champion and has won two consecutive World Championship 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay gold between 2009 and 2015.
Lightning Bolt is also the world record holder in the 100m as well as 200m category. Along with Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, and Yohan Blake, Bolt also shares the world record for 4x100m relay race.
Michael Phelps (Swimming)
Former swimmer Michael Phelps is the most successful and the most decorated Olympian of all time with 28 medals to his name. He also holds the distinguished record of winning the most Olympic gold medals (23), the most Olympic gold medals in individual events (13), and the most Olympic medals in individual events (16).
Phelps burst on to the scene with eight medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics – six gold medals and two bronze medals. He then broke American swimmer Mark Spitz's 36-year-old record after winning the gold in all eight events held at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
After winning four golds and two silvers at the 2012 London Olympics, Phelps decided to retire from the sport. However, he changed his mind and made a comeback in April 2014.
At the Rio Olympics in 2016, Phelps won five gold medals and two silver medals to become the greatest Olympian of all time. One of the greatest athletes of all time, The Baltimore Bullet decided to retire from competitive swimming after the Rio Olympics.
David Rudisha (Athletics)
Kenyan middle-distance runner David Rudisha is the reigning Olympic champion. He won the 800m event at both the 2012 London Olympics as well as the 2016 Rio Olympics. He's also a two-time World Champion, having won the gold medal in 2011 and 2015, and holds the world record in the 800m category.
Rudisha is the first and only person to ever complete an 800m event under 1:41. With a time of 57.69, he also holds the world record for 500m. However, the last time he raced internationally was on July 4, 2017. Since then, he has suffered from quad muscle strain, back problems, a car crash and even a surgery for a broken ankle. David Rudisha will not be defending his Olympic 800m title this year.
Abhinav Bindra (Shooting)
India's only individual gold medalist, Abhinav Bindra created history at 2008 Beijing Olympics by winning the Men's 10m air-rifle event. At the 2006 ISSF World Shooting Championships, Bindra became a World Champion with a score of 699.1 in the final and he became the first shooter to hold both the Olympic medal as well as the World Championship title.
The 38-year-old has also won nine Commonwealth Games medals and three Asian Games gold medals. Bindra retired from competitive shooting after the 2016 Rio Olympics where he finished fourth after losing a shoot-off for the top three against Ukraine's Serhiy Kulish.