SPORTS

Murer criticized for blaming 'dangerous' wind for Olympic disappointment

08/06/2012 07:45 EDT | Updated 10/06/2012 05:12 EDT
MANCHESTER, England - As if early elimination from the Olympics wasn't enough disappointment, Brazilian defending world champion pole vaulter Fabiana Murer is getting harsh criticism back home for blaming the wind.

Murer aborted the jump that could've sent her to the finals because she thought the wind was too dangerous.

Brazilian fans, media and even fellow athletes criticized her for not trying the last jump, many saying the wind was the same for every one.

Murer was one of Brazil's greatest hopes for a medal at the London Games after winning the world championship last year in Daegu, South Korea. She was looking to avoid the disappointment of four years ago in Beijing, when she was in contention until organizers misplaced one of her poles in the final to end her chances of an Olympic medal.

This time she said the wind was the problem.

After failing to clear the 4.55-metre mark in her first two attempts, Murer started running for her final jump but stopped just a few seconds later after realizing the wind picked up too much.

"I gave up because with that wind I wasn't going to be able to jump," Murer said. "It would be dangerous if I had jumped. I came back to try again, but the wind was still too strong. I could get hurt if I had jumped."

Organizers had already stopped Murer from attempting an earlier jump because of the strong winds at the Olympic Stadium, but they had cleared her for the final attempt.

She was criticized immediately on Twitter in Brazil, and later nearly all newspapers and websites emphasized Murer's "wind excuse" for failing to make the finals. Former Brazil volleyball player Gustavo, who won a gold medal in 2004 and silver in 2008, criticized Murer's decision not to jump, saying on Twitter that "Olympic spirit is not for everyone" and that "any sacrifice is valid to win for your country."

Murer defended herself and said she doesn't regret blaming the wind because she is always open about what happens to her in competitions, win or lose.

"I did the best I could," said Murer, who finished 14th overall. "I always try to show everyone what really happens in a competition. I have always respected everyone."

In Beijing, organizers misplaced the pole Murer was going to use to try to clear the 4.55 mark in the final. She had to go directly to the one used for the 4.65 mark, which she said disrupted her entire routine. Organizers sent her a letter the next day apologizing for the incident, but said that ultimately it was Murer's responsibility to check her equipment before the final started.

She didn't even make it to the final after this year's Olympic mishap.

"I always train hard to try to improve my performance so I can overcome my challenges and this year it wasn't different," Murer said. "I'll move on."

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