Olympic defeat still hurts for Team GB boxing captain Tom Stalker
By Phil CartwrightBBC North West Sport
"Who remembers an Olympian?" asks Tom Stalker. "People only remember Olympic medallists."
The Liverpool-born boxer went into London 2012 as one of Great Britain's brightest hopes for gold, but a controversial quarter-final defeat by Munkh-Erdene Uranchimeg of Mongolia shattered his dreams.
And while the likes of Anthony Joshua, Anthony Ogogo and Nicola Adams bask in the glory of their medal successes, Stalker is left to reflect on what might have been.
"You don't get anyone phoning you saying 'do you want to do this or open this?' It's all the medallists," he continues. "Fair enough - they deserve all the credit because to win an Olympic medal is a big achievement. I just wish I was with them."
“I couldn't speak because I was that upset. I got a bit of stick from the press because I didn't want to do any interviews, but I was in the changing rooms crying for an hour”
Tom Stalker on his controversial Olympic defeat
Going into the Games, Stalker
was the world's best amateur
in the 64kg light-welterweight category, and was looking to add Olympic gold to the
he had won in the lightweight division in Delhi two years previously.
The Team GB captain made it safely through to the last eight in London. A quarter-final victory over Uranchimeg would have guaranteed at least a bronze medal, but the Mongolian edged a close contest 23-22.
"I thought I'd won the fight," he said. "It wasn't the worst robbery, but even if you think you've won by two points, you've still won.
"Obviously it was for my bronze medal, so there was a lot at stake.
"I was just broken-hearted. I couldn't speak because I was that upset. I got a bit of stick from the press because I didn't want to do any interviews, but I was in the changing rooms crying for an hour.
"I'm still not over it now because it was four years of hard work. If you ask any fighter, you always think you're going to go into the ring and win.
"I went into the Olympic Games with a lot of pressure on me. I was ranked number one in the world and I was the team captain.
Stalker loses quarter-final bout
"I thought I was going to win the gold medal and become a superstar. When it didn't happen, it was like my worst fear had happened.
"People who win medals are going to be on the telly and doing lots of stuff like that. They don't just want 'an Olympian'.
"It hasn't been the way I thought it would be after the Olympics, but that's life. Maybe I could have won a gold medal and changed and become a bit of an idiot. Everything happens for a reason."
Stalker is now weighing up whether to turn professional or have another crack at gold in Rio in 2016.
Whatever his decision, he insists he will look back fondly at his time as an amateur, despite the crushing disappointment of failure in London.
"I've had the best five or six years with the GB team," he added. "I'd recommend any young boxers out there to get on that GB team because it's a great life.
"The coaching staff have brought me on so much and they've made me the fighter I am today. I've got to look past that now and I've got aspirations to become a champion."
Tom Stalker was speaking to BBC North West's Stuart Pollitt.
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