At the 2004 Summer Olympics, French swimmer Laure Manaudou appeared poised to be one of the all-time greats in her sport. At just 17 years old she won the gold medal in the 400 meter freestyle, the silver in the 800 freestyle and the bronze in the 100 backstroke, and 2008 was supposed to be a much bigger year.
It hasn't worked out that way. Over the last year Manaudou has been plagued by what was referred to as a "sex scandal," although it doesn't really strike me as something that the French would consider scandalous: Explicit photos of her surfaced, and the photos were apparently connected to Italian swimmer Luca Marin.
But whether that qualifies as scandalous or not, she says it has taken its toll on her, and her times so far in the Olympics have been disappointing. Reuters reports:
"I'm even wondering if it means something to continue," she said on Tuesday while in tears. "I don't know, I don't even have the desire to swim.I feel badly for Manaudou after reading that, but the good news is that she's only 21. Even if these Olympics end badly for her, there's plenty of time for her to wipe the slate clean and return in 2012.
"It's hard to race and finish seventh or eighth."