Olympic marathon swimmer thought he had lost eye in freak accident, asked lifeguard to check
- A British swimmer was forced to retire from the Tokyo Olympics 10km race after taking an elbow to the eye.
- Hector Pardoe said he thought his eye had fallen out and had to ask a lifeguard if it was still there.
- The 20-year-old was later pictured with his eye badly bruised and swollen with a cut on the eyelid.
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The 20-year-old swimmer was only a couple of kilometres from the finish line when a stray elbow from another swimmer caught him on his right eye, opening up a large wound, which subsequently forced him to retire.
"On my last lap, I took an elbow to the face. I thought I'd lost my eye. My goggles came off completely. I always hoped that if I got injured like that, I'd be able to finish the race but my goggles fell off and I couldn't even get them.
"I couldn't see anything, I thought my eye had fallen out in the water. I went up to the lifeguards and said, 'my eye, my eye! Is it okay?' They weren't giving me a very decisive opinion and I had to get out after that," he told Eurosport.
Speaking while holding a towel to his eye, Pardoe said it was "fine" and the wound would be stitched up once he got back to the Olympic village
Former English swimmer turned commentator Andy Jameson later tweeted a picture of Pardoe's badly cut eye, which you can see below:
WARNING: The image is graphic.
Utterly brutal â€¦ Great Britainâ€™s @hector_pardoe had to withdraw from the menâ€™s Olympic Marathon Swim (10k Open Water) very close to the end after receiving a forearm smash to the eye socket! Nasty â€¦ especially considering he had swimming goggles on! Great effort up â€˜til then! pic.twitter.com/3ODAh0LZab— Andy Jameson (@Andyjamesonswim) August 4, 2021
Ultimately, the race was won by Germany's Florian Wellbrock, who took the lead early on and was never caught.
Pardoe said he panicked when he saw he was far behind during the race.
"It wasn't really what I expected from the start. I started really fast from the front, really warm conditions that I'm not used to. I've never raced in such hot waters.
"I started to panic when I was behind, I could see that any chance of top five, top six was over. I was trying to secure it as much as I could, didn't get the top 10 finish. I did well to catch the group up, I was feeling okay, I got back into it," he said.
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