British boxer Ben Whittaker was so disappointed by his silver medal in the light
heavyweight final on Wednesday, August 4, that he refused to put it on, fearing it
might make him look like a loser to his countrymen back home. Whittaker refused
to wear the medal during the victory ceremony
Whittaker, 24, of West Bromwich, looked crestfallen and barely raised his head to
look at the Union Flag as it was unveiled next to the flags of the other medallists
from Cuba, Azerbaijan, and the Russian Olympic Committee.
Ben Whittaker produced his medal from his pocket and reluctantly held it for the
photographers as the other three boxers hugged and smiled for the cameras, with
medals around their necks.
Due to Covid safety rules, medal winners no longer have their awards placed around
their necks by officials and dignitaries and instead the awards are presented to them
to be self-placed.
Whittaker kept his hands in his pockets throughout the medal celebration for the
light heavyweight medals and had earlier left the ring after his defeat to Arien Lopez
of Cuba wiping away tears.
One observer said: ‘I have been to Olympics over the last 25 years and witnessed
many, many medal ceremonies but I have never seen anything like this.
‘It wasn’t fair to the other boxers and the Olympics. He needs to learn to accept this
loss and come back stronger next time.’
In a statement, Whittaker said: ‘Yeah, so, I didn’t win a gold.
‘I lost gold, so to me, it’s a failure so I am not going to celebrate silver at the
moment. I am sure over the years I will look back and see what an achievement it is.’
He added: ‘You don’t win silver…you lose gold. So that is why I was so emotional.
Nobody trains for silver or bronze.
‘Everybody up here trained for the gold medal. I woke up this morning truly believing
this was my time. I had the whole of the West Midlands behind me and Great Britain
‘Congratulations to Arien. It was his time. He is a great boxer. I just have to go back to
the gym, change a few things, work harder, and hopefully next time it will be my
turn.’ When he appeared with the other medallists later, he was asked to wear the
medal but took it off immediately on leaving the Ryogoku Kokugikan arena and
returned it to his pocket.