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Sporting myths, winning and national pride

Forget about the importance of taking part. Rory McIlroy is in an uncomfortable position, on the horns of a dilemma. Should he play golf at Rio 2016 for the UK, apparently his preference, or Ireland? The Irish tried to help him make up his mind by offering to let him carry the flag, but this only seems to have added to the pressure so that now he may not play at all!

Of course, McIlroy will be a favourite for gold which, ironically, may not make his decision any easier. One athlete, Mhairi Spence, who didn't win found it so upsetting that she wanted to hide herself away. The World Champion Modern Pentathlete was one of the favourites for her event but everything fell apart during the show jumping session. Devastated by what happened she said: "For me, it was a disaster. I can't describe it in any other way. I felt it destroyed part of me." She was not alone, and it's nothing new. Back in Ancient Greece not to win did not bring honour it brought shame, athletes would pray for victory or death to avoid the disaster of coming second.

Out of the media spotlight there'll be more dark nights in Rio.


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