No self-respecting athlete ever enters a competition just to say he was just there. I am not an Olympic athlete, not even close, but I know by the hours and years, the self-discipline of training, the restricting your diet to eat what will enable you to perform the best possible on the day of the race. One enters the race to win it.
It doesn’t matter what discipline you train for, be it a 100 meter sprint or the marathon, or something in between, the goal is to win the prize at the end of the day. The great tragedy is when a runner is eliminated by an error that was totally in his control to be able to change. Many Canadians will remember the year (1988) when Ben Johnson apparently won the Gold Medal in the 100 meter race. Tragically, it was discovered later that Ben was disqualified by something that was totally under his control to deny. No one forced him to take a drug stimulant to race faster, he had total freedom to take it or to say no to the temptation. The choice was his to make. Today, he lives with the consequences of his decision.