Champions have limits

Having watched the greatest of all time crumble for the first time in seven years is one of the most rare moments to witness in athletics history. The record by Kipchoge still remains 2:02:37 set in 2019. This year came in as the worst surprise as he came in a distant eighth; his poorest Marathon. 

After 25 kilometers my ear blocked and it couldn’t open anymore. But this is how sport is, we should accept defeat and focus for the winning next time.

The alleged injury of Bekele had signalled a fifth consecutive London Marathon tittle for Kipchoge. All eyes have been on him, and when the race started the whole world had already predicted the winner. The cameras  positioned to capture his face most time, and this set the expectations even higher. Kipchoge may have been beaten but here are 7 lessons we can each pick from the loss. 

Champions have their bad days. Kipchoge is the greatest marathoner of all time but that does not mean he can’t lose at one point. In 2017 when Usain Bolt lost to Justine Gatlin, people didn’t well focus on the fact that Gatlin won but how he beat the GOAT- Bolt. In August 2020 Barcelona were beaten 8 goals by Bayern München but that doesn’t dethrone Messi as the GOAT. Every GOAT will have their day off and Kipchoge is not an exception.

You have to lose to appreciate victory more. The thousands of people camping at Mandago TV in Eldoret were very certain that the tittle was home. The previous victories had given the people the sense of familiarity and they were ready to enjoy as usual. The millions of Kenyans had even complained of the exit of Bekele claiming that he feared the defeat. When the results turned out as the opposite, it became the hardest pill to swallow. 

Losing makes you respect others. I bet most people watching the race had never heard of Kitata, I’m not the exception too. There are underdogs who train hard and when it’s their time to shine, champions sit on the side and clap. Little known Claudio Ranieri shocked the world when he led Leicester city to the EPL victory in 2016. There are moments when nobodies turn tables and 2020 London Marathon is one of them. 

When the days are dark the friends depart. Kipchoge in his tweet claimed that his ear got blocked in the middle of the race. The fans who were cheering before turned against him except for some few. The trolls came in handy as the people dug to his modelling venture blaming that for his loss. Others blamed him for engaging in charities while other athletes were training. In the end you realize that most fans support you only when you win. 

You cannot bask on the yesterday’s sunshine. Kipchoge might have been the champion for the four consecutive years. This makes him an undisputed king of the race but for how long. He remained the favorite but that didn’t help him win the race. This reminds people that the past is just for the purpose of history, anything can happen any moment and champions of yesterday have equal chances of either winning or losing like everyone else. 

Never lose sight of tomorrow due to the bad day. Kipchoge after the race tweeted about his condition but he signed off by saying he is focusing on the next challenge. This alone may scare his opponents as they are now pacing for the revenge. Kipchoge is the holder of the world record and his competitors know what he is capable of. The London Marathon even commented on his tweet that “…you’ll be back to winning ways very soon” 

Finally, even the best dancer knows when to exit the stage. Although I’m skeptical of this last one but seasons change. Kipchoge might have reached his peak and this may be the best time to hang his boots. Having put all the records in the past and now with thirty five years of age makes him the best and he has nothing else to prove. When Messi and Ronaldo won a combined eleven Balon D’or trophies, we didn’t know that their time would come when we shall miss them on top but it has happened now.

The London Marathon has been Kenyans’ source of bliss and something to be proud of but the 2020 turned out different. The country now knows the pain of losing as they witnessed young Kitata pass by Kipchumba in the last second. We might have to forget this moment in order to heal but one person bears the loss and the ridicule. Kipchoge should now consider his options well before planning his next move. It’s never too late to try neither is it too early to say bye. 

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