Each person who is part of the Carolina Marín team summarizes in this way, away from the cameras and the focus of media attention, the situation that the current Olympic champion is experiencing. “It is being very hard.” And, for the first time, it is also expressed by Marín herself, who, at just 28 years old, has had to say goodbye to the dream of a second Olympic gold in the Tokyo Games that begin on July 23.
“You see me with a smile, but this has been and is being tough. There are moments of desolation, fear, uncertainty … I just don’t know how this is going to turn out, if I’ll be the same again. That friday [el 28 de mayo, el de la rotura del ligamento cruzado de la rodilla izquierda] It was very, very, hard ”, he confessed this morning, at an event organized by Santander, one of his many sponsors. His first appearance was just a month after he underwent surgery. She has appeared on the Paseo de Recoletos walking with crutches and accompanied by her mother and the rest of the team.
She is not the only one who has “that Friday” engraved on her head. Her mother, who is sitting in the front row, says that that weekend she was traveling to Madrid to say goodbye to her “child”, before the planned concentration in Sierra Nevada and before flying to Japan to play the Games. He was going to spend three days with his “girl” and is still by his side almost 40 days later. 10 minutes before he drove into Madrid, that damned Friday, he received a call from Carolina Marín. “Mom, don’t go straight home, come to the hospital, I’m broken.” Carol He recalled this morning that he knew perfectly well that this injury was serious and that he was going to keep him from the Games. “The moment I made the gesture I heard the creak. I’ve broken, I’ve broken, I told Anders [el segundo entrenador]. I was very overwhelmed. I already knew that everything was in danger and more when they took me to the hospital and they did the MRI. What I did not expect is that, in addition, I had two torn menisci ”, he says.
The rupture of the two menisci, explains Fernando Rivas, her coach, is what is causing the deadlines to be delayed a bit this time and Carolina has not yet appeared on the CAR (High Performance Center) badminton court. “Until yesterday they did not give him permission to put his foot down,” says the coach. This Tuesday, after the first check-up, the doctors gave him permission to do so and to also start working in the pool. Carolina’s day to day is, right now, work in the water, daily sessions with the psychologist (María Martínez), by phone and in person, as well as physical work in the morning and afternoon.
The psychologist is the one who is helping Carolina Marín the most right now. This is what he says when asked if it is hard for him to sit in front of the media to talk about the injury. “It is hard, yes. No athlete likes to go through this, having to brake does not please us at all because we are in continuous movement. But you have to face it, you have to talk about it, you have to cast your emotions out, I talk about it a lot with Maria, you have to throw everything out so as not to hurt me. I transmit each of the emotions I feel: when I get up, when I train, when I go to sleep. Taking that out also helps you understand the situation you are in. “
Neither Marín nor Fernando Rivas set deadlines for the return. They celebrate, yes, that the International Federation has changed the dates of the Huelva World Cup scheduled for the end of November. It has been postponed for two weeks and will start on December 15th. They both say that two more weeks at the end of the recovery process are vital. “I will try to come back as soon as possible, I promise. I would like to be in Huelva, in that World Cup that is played at home, ”says Marín.
The Spaniard also admits that she has barely slept for a month because she does not know very well how to position her leg. But despite the fact that he hardly sleeps, he knows that he has to get up and train. “It has to be done. All this has not been easy, it has been even harder than the first injury [enero de 2019 en Indonesia, el otro ligamento cruzado], because it happened two months before the Games … the dream that I wanted so much has gone to waste. It is already more than assumed, the first days it cost me a lot because a dream was ending. They have been two difficult years, full of potholes that life has put in front of me. But I am going to overcome them ”, he assured.
His escape valve, apart from his family and team, is Paris 2024. “There is something good in all this, I told myself the day after I broke down: look, if you had to wait four years for the next Games before, not now, they are three. It was something positive inside that black hole in which I saw myself ”. In Paris 2024 he will arrive at the age of 31 and with a background in which the word resilience will accompany that of patience, which he had to learn to have after the first tear of the cruciate ligament, in his right knee. “I am also human, people believe that athletes are gods, robots, but I want it to reach them that we are like them, that these things happen to all of us and that it is also hard for us. But it is overcome and these scars will remain for life, but I will do it again ”.