The athlete has once again confirmed the London games is his last Olympics. He adds, however, that his career is not over yet and he might participate in world championship next year.
- Is your farewell to the Olympics a happy or a sad one?
- I started with the 5th place and ended number four. It's not bad – at least some step forward.
- What was missing for you to claim a medal?
- I was quite many centimetres short. Fourth place is not a bad result. Sure, I hoped I'd throw the thing further, but it didn't happen.
- Was London weather a factor?
- The weather is not bad at all. There was some drizzle but not that much. Perhaps it's a little too chilly. I wanted to achieve better results in my initial throws, not to wait for the end of the tournament, because the body cools down, strength goes down.
- After your first throw, you probably knew it will not do for a medal?
- I did see it was shortish. I tried to push the result subsequently.
- Were you surprised at any of your competitor's performance?
- I was hoping for a somewhat better result from Robert Harting. I thought he could throw about 70 metres. Ehsan Hadadi is as strong as ever. Well, I still hold the Olympic record. It will stay at least until Rio de Janeiro.
- What were you thinking while taking the position for your last attempt – the last Olympic throw in your career?
- I tried to concentrate and do well in at least my last throw. But didn't manage to.
- It probably wasn't likely that you'd improve the result, with the body already cooling down?
- It's more difficult, certainly. Especially for me. Let me remind you, I'm 40. Coolness is not my friend, I want warmth. My rivals achieved better results with their last throws, but they are 10 or more years younger than me. They are in better shapes. I, too, felt well under any weather when I was their age.
- You seem displeased, but not sad?
|Fotodiena/Alfredo Pliadžio nuotr./Virgilijus Alekna|
- What would my being sad change?
- Did you feel well before the competition?
- Even 67 metres require some throwing. So I did feel quite well. Sure, I can't say it was perfect.
- This is not your last competition?
- There will be other competitions. But it is my last Olympics. I finished my Olympic mission as an athlete.
- Perhaps you'll be going to the next games in other capacity than a sportsman?
- I don't know. Rio de Janeiro is still a long way off. Let's wait and see.
- Why didn't you throw your own discus? Did you bring it to London?
- I did bring it with me, but it wasn't in the field for some reason. They didn't register it even though I had sent it to them. Perhaps they didn't like my discus. But there was a wide selection to choose from.
- After the qualifiers, you said you hadn't clicked with any of the disci in London. Did you during the finals?
- I did come to an understanding with one of them (smiles).
- Will you stay in London for the rest of the games?
- No, I'll be going home sooner. Discus throw is over. It might me interesting to stay on, but I'm not in the mood. I'll be going home in a day or two.
- When do you have to be back at work in the Ministry of Internal Affairs?
- Soon. Once I'm back, straight to work.
- You saw the opening ceremony in London for the first time?
- Yes. It is my fifth Olympic games, I thought it would be risky to wait another four years, lest I don't get to see it at all. So I ventured into attending the opening ceremony and I'm not sorry.
- How would you sum up your Olympic career?
- Five Olympic games and never below the fifth place – it is a solid result. Two gold medals, one bronze. It will be tough for any Lithuanian to top that.
- If we reported that this was Virgilijus Alekna's last season, would we be lying?
- I wouldn't be so hasty if I were you. A season comes, ends, another one starts. For a professional, who has spent so many years doing sports, quiting so abruptly is unhealthy, he must retreat gradually. Who knows, I might still do something next year. Of course, with lower loads.
There will be a world championship next year. If I decide to take part, it will be my tenth world tournament. I don't think there are many athletes who've been to ten world championships. It would be a record of sorts. But I'm still not sure what I'll do.
- Do you have your family with you in London?
- No, they're at home. I'm used to being alone during competitions. I'm more at ease when I know everyone's at home.
- Did your family tell you, before the departure to London, “We believe”?
- We don't discuss these things. I go to competition and that's it, I don't make drama about it. It's not the first time I go to the Olympics. They just said – go.
|Alfredo Pliadžio/Virgilijus Alekna|