Kara Winger called her fourth and final Olympic experience “a fairy tale until the ending.”
The Skyview High School graduate took to social media Tuesday to share her thoughts after failing to advance to the finals of the women’s javelin at the Tokyo Olympics.
Winger threw 59.71 meters to place 17th in Tuesday’s preliminaries. The top 12 throwers advanced to the finals.
“My second-best Olympic result, and as unbearably sad as I am to not make the final (this feeling is always AWFUL and the same), I’m more proud,” Winger posted to her Instagram account. “And I’m REALLY sad.”
Winger used the moment to share her appreciation for her coaches, USA Track and Field throws coach Dana Pounds-Lyon, USATF strength and conditioning coach James Myers.
“Having (Pounds-Lyon and Myers) in the stands and hanging out all week after the year we’ve had was amazing, even if I sat there beside them in tears at the end,” Winger said. “You’re both so special to me. I thought I was done with the business of breaking my own heart once our team formed, but I guess we get to keep experiencing all of it, together. I’m so grateful to be yours.”
She also acknowledged Kelcie Wittman, USATF’s physical therapist. The 35-year-old Winger competed in Tokyo almost exactly a year after tearing a knee ligament last summer.
“Knowing (Wittman’s) true feelings of amazement that we made it here in less than a year is still humbling and awesome,” Winger said. “Being around so many PTs/chiropractors/massage therapists/even my surgeon who have made huge impacts on my career in various stages in the (Olympic) village was mind-blowing.”
Winger was selected as one of two team captains by her teammates on USA Track and Field.
“This team has already ensured that this is still my favorite Olympics, despite outcome,” she said. “There’s an odd peace around knowing I’ll never be an Olympic finalist. I don’t have unfinished business here anymore. If I am just meant to support the amazing teammates around me, I accept that.”
Winger saluted the achievements of teammates, including long jumper Brittney Reese, whose silver medal gave her medals in three straight games, Rai Benjamin’s silver medal effort in the 400-meter hurdles, as well as medal-winning American throws Raven Saunders and Valarie Allman.
And she added a thank you for all her supporters.
“Thank you all for your incredible cheers all year long,” Winger concluded. “I don’t plan to stop my season yet! Body’s feeling good, which is part of the heartbreak. But again, super proud of this body.”