Mary Cohen reflects on Olympic failure
Mary Cohen insisted it was better to try and fail than not try at all after seeing her Olympic dreams ended this week.
The epee fencer from Wandsworth had a poor performance at the World Cup in St Maur last weekend as she failed to make it out of the preliminary group and get the result she needed to stay in contention for selection.
In truth, it would have taken an outstanding result for her to have a chance of getting a host nation place, with Corinna Lawrence and Georgina Usher leading the British rankings by some distance.
It brings an end to two years of full-time training for Cohen as she took a sabbatical from her medicine degree at King’s College London to focus on Olympic qualification.
But, despite the heartbreak, she would not have had it any other way.
“It is really disappointing but I am proud of the fact I have tried,” said the 25-year-old who won the British championships in December.
“It wasn’t easy and right now it doesn’t feel good but it would feel worse to regret not trying.
“I know I did everything I could and I am pleased because I got to be a better fencer – I beat the current Olympic champion in the team event and a world medallist as well.
“I have had a lot of good fencing this year but not put it together at the right time and at least I finish as national champion.
“I will not ever regret trying for the Olympics – if you are going to try and chase difficult dreams, then you are going to fail sometimes.”
Cohen’s best hope had perhaps been to be included in the team event, but, after British number one Lawrence signalled her intention to concentrate on the individuals earlier this year, GB look unlikely to use up a host nation place for a team that has struggled for good results in recent months.
“If other decisions had been made and we had been going for the team it might have been different,” added Cohen.
“Corinna decided not to be in the team as she wanted to focus on the individual and that led to the other top people dropping out as they felt that if it was not going to be a strong team then it was not worth it.
“She has to make her own decisions for what she thinks is the best for the Olympics and for her but I was disappointed she made that choice.”
After two competitions for her French club ABE and one more World Cup in Rio De Janeiro, Cohen will return to King’s to complete the final year of her degree and qualify as a doctor.
But she will return to the fencing world.
“I am taking a year off from fencing but then I want to be back for the Commonwealth Games in Scotland in 2014 and I want to medal there – last time I missed out narrowly and it is something I am bitter about and would like to correct,” she said.
“As for the next Olympics in Rio in 2016, it depends on a lot of things but I am not ruling it out.”