Today, sisters Cate, 24, and Bronte Campbell, 22, competed in the women’s 100m freestyle final.
Cate was the overwhelming favourite for gold after breaking the world record last month. Bronte, too, was expected to walk away with a medal.
The sisters, heavy with the weight of Australia on their shoulders, missed out on a place. Bronte came in fourth, with Cate finishing sixth.
The headlines since have read “Campbell sisters fail to win medals” and “Cate Campbell misses Olympic medal in stunning upset“, with descriptions of an “astonishing fadeout” in the final 50 meters.
Channel 7 posted an image of the results with the caption “ouch!”
But the Campbell sisters, regardless of where they placed, have made Australia so, so proud.
The dive they took into the 100 metre Rio Olympics final was more than a decade in the making. Behind the race, which lasted less than a minute, was a lifetime of hard work.
These are two women who, despite being fierce competitors, are, in their own words “best mates”. They are women who rejoice in each other’s victories and are gracious in defeat.
The Olympic athletes we admire. Post continues below.
They embody everything that Australia loves about our Olympians. They’re supremely talented without a hint of arrogance. They compete for the love of their sport rather than the glory. They are hard working, funny, unpretentious and level headed – the perfect role models for any young, aspiring athlete.
Australia has fallen in love with the Campbell sisters for who they are out of the pool.
Almost as if Cate could sense the headlines being penned, she said in her post race interview; “I just spent too much emotional energy in the lead-up and even in the race. I let my head get ahead of me, and that’s not something I should do…”
She then addressed her Australian fans, and said: “I love you, this doesn’t change how you should feel about me, so please still love me back.”
In our coverage, we need to think twice before we present anything less than a medal as a failure. In the words of Bronte “It’s not about winning, it’s about trying to win. I think that’s really important…We both tried our best, I have no regrets…I don’t think either of us have anything to be ashamed of.”
In an interview with Fairfax Media, the sisters said that their inspiration every time they stand on the blocks, is their brother Hamish who has cerebral palsy. Bronte said “‘I always think about stuff like this [Hamish’s disability] when I get up behind the blocks for a race. It’s not life and death and that’s something that Hamish has helped me realise.”
She added “It’s given me some perspective.”
Surely that attitude deserves more than an “ouch”.
Because sometimes you don’t win the race. Sometimes it’s not ‘fair’. Sometimes you have an off day. In the end, we’re all only human.
And that is absolutely nothing to be sorry for.
— Channel 7 (@Channel7) August 12, 2016