Alison Williams, Mariya Koroleva, and Anita Alvarez leave San Juan, Puerto Rico, for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on a late July morning.
Do Alternates Go To The Olympics
The three ladies represent the United States on the international synchronised swimming stage as the only members of the USA Synchro team travelling south to participate in the XXXI Olympiad.
More than ten thousand athletes from over two hundred countries will compete in a total of thirty-nine different events at Rio 2016. In total, 297 medals are presented.
One billion people or more are expected to watch. The synchro team members are not in need of anyone reminding them that the Olympics are the pinnacle of athletic competition.
Williams, At 26, is The Oldest of The Trio.
Ali, as she is known to her friends, started doing synchronised swimming when she was 10 years old, and by the time she was 16 she had made it onto the national squad. The Californian native has spent the better part of the last two years training in the water at Campolindo High School for six hours a day in order to reach the top of the podium.
In 2015, she won medals in the China Open, the National Championships, and the Pan American Games because of her hard work and dedication. The voice of doubt that told her, you’re too old, you don’t have it in you, was something she had to fight down while practising alone, often without so much as a coach to monitor her progress. She kept Rio as her focus throughout.
She Found Out in March That She Will be Participating in The Games.
Williams’ first and likely last Olympics will be everything but routine. The United States Synchronized Swimming team will fly into Rio and then take a car to the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro. Williams’ two colleagues will register and pick up their badges at the Welcome Center. When they get to the Olympic Village, they’ll pick up their Team USA goodie bags and head back to their lodgings.
The Maria Lenk Aquatic Center will be their first stop as they begin to prepare for the most important competition of their life. Williams, on the other hand, will not be granted access to the Village and will not be issued a credential.
She won’t be receiving any USA team apparel. No matter what happens with Koroleva and Alvarez—injury, disqualification, or retirement—Williams will never be able to realise her goal of finishing on the podium. As an alternative, she has qualified for the Olympics.
Even if the term “Olympic alternate” isn’t officially recognised, the fact that Williams was chosen as one indicates that she is among the top in her field. She is in Rio as USA Synchro’s athletic understudy, which means she still needs to train every day.
‘I owe it to my country to be prepared,’ she says. If I have to take over, it will be my responsibility to ensure USA Synchro’s success. It’s not like she’ll be on her own. Twenty-seven U.S. alternates (also known as substitute athletes, reserves, or spares) will compete in the 2016 Olympics.
Those that have exceeded expectations will be pleased, but the majority of people are not. Words like “painful,” “frustrating,” “humbling,” and “extremely challenging” have been used to describe the Olympic alternate experience. Williams has decided to see the bright side of things.
She worries that if she focuses too much on the possibility that she won’t participate in the opening ceremony because she won’t receive the necessary equipment, she would fail to notice what is right in front of her. I am perfectly within my rights to feel this way. “But in the end, what type of experience do I want to have?”
It will be challenging to maintain a positive attitude in the face of frustration at the Welcome Center. The USOC and the IOC have both stated that they will not consider Williams a member of Team USA if she does not compete. There will be no record of her participation in the 2016 Olympics under her name.
Like she never even visited Rio.