Rio Olympics 2016: The stars you won't see in Brazil

Stephen Curry and Isinbayeva
Yelena Isinbayeva and Steph Curry are two of the stars to miss the Rio Olympics

There are 10,500 athletes in Rio competing on the world's biggest stage in front of an audience of billions.

Usain Bolt, Neymar, Michael Phelps and Mo Farah are just some of the stars on display in Brazil, but there are also a number of notable absences.

Injury, suspension, disputes and fear of the Zika virus are just a few of the reasons some of the biggest names in sport are not competing...


Maria Sharapova
Russian Sharapova was a silver medallist at the London Olympics in 2012

Maria Sharapova

Why is she missing?

Five-time Grand Slam winner Sharapova was banned in June for two years for using the prohibited drug meldonium. The 29-year-old Russian has appealed against the decision but her case will not be heard until September.

What she said:

"I intend to stand for what I believe is right and that's why I will fight to be back on the tennis court as soon as possible."

Roger Federer

Roger Federer
Federer lost to Great Britain's Andy Murray in the men's singles final at the London 2012 Olympics

Why is he missing?

The 17-time Grand Slam champion withdrew with a knee injury and will miss the rest of the season. The 34-year-old Swiss great won doubles gold at Beijing in 2008, but has never won an Olympic singles title and lost to Britain's Andy Murray in the final at London 2012.

What he said: "I have made the very difficult decision to call an end to my 2016 season as I need more extensive rehabilitation following my knee surgery earlier this year."

During the opening ceremony he tweeted: "Wish I was there with you" accompanied by a picture of the Swiss Olympic team.

Canada's world number seven Milos Raonic, Romania's world number three Simona Halep and Czech world number eight Tomas Berdych have also pulled out because of concerns about the Zika virus.

Nick Kyrgios

Nick Kyrgios
Six-time Wimbledon doubles champion Mark Woodforde has suggested Kyrgios needs to see a psychologist if he is to fulfil his talent

Why is he missing?

Kyrgios pulled out of the Games because of a dispute with the Australian Olympic Committee. In announcing his decision, Kyrgios accused the body of "unfair and unjust treatment" and "unwarranted attacks", adding: "The AOC has chosen to publicly and privately disparage me."

Australia's Olympic team boss had said Kyrgios' behaviour was being monitored in the build-up to Rio after he received a code violation for shouting at a ball boy and was fined for an audible obscenity at the French Open.

Last year the 21-year-old was given a suspended 28-day ban and fined by the Association of Tennis Professionals for making lewd remarks about Stan Wawrinka's girlfriend during a match.

What he said:

"Unfortunately, while I have expressed every intention of trying to win a medal for my country in Rio, it's very clear to me that the Australian Olympic Committee has other plans.

"AOC's unfair and unjust treatment of me over the last four weeks, as well as the organisation's crystal clear position on whether they want me to be a part of the Australian Olympic team, has solidified my final decision."


I may not watch Olympic golf - McIlroy

Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson

Why are they missing?

The top four golfers in the world have pulled out of the Games because of concerns over Zika, and they are not the only withdrawals.

Golf is returning to the Olympic roster for the first time in 112 years but only four of the top 10 will be in Rio.

Shane Lowry and Hideki Matsuyama also blame Zika for them not being in Rio, Louis Oosthuizen is absent for family and scheduling reasons and Australian Adam Scott says he will not be going because the Olympics is not as important as other events in the calendar.

So far, only one female golfer has pulled out - South Africa's Lee-Anne Pace, who also cited Zika concerns.


LeBron James and Steph Curry

Why are they missing?

Lebron James leads Cleveland Cavaliers to NBA title

Cleveland Cavaliers star James will not play for the United States because he "could use the rest", while Golden State Warriors' Curry will also be absent. Curry, the NBA's most valuable player last season, made his decision due to "several factors - including recent ankle and knee injuries".

Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City Thunder and James Harden of Houston Rockets have also pulled out citing family concerns, without explicitly mentioning the Zika virus.


Gemma Gibbons

Why is she missing?

GB's Gibbons wins silver

London 2012 silver medallist Gibbons missed out on a place in Rio after losing her spot to Natalie Powell. Commonwealth champion Powell, 25, will be the first Welsh woman to compete in judo at the Olympics.

She beat China's Zhehui Zhang in a -78kg bronze medal contest at the Mexico World Masters to seal her place, while England's Gibbons, who has been hit by injuries, lost her bronze medal match to Guusje Steenhuis of the Netherlands.

What she said: "I've given my all to this quest and to fall short is agonising but I will be OK. I may not get the chance to go for gold in Rio but I would not change my judo journey for the world."


Ed McKeever

McKeever wins kayak 200m gold

Why is he missing?

London 2012 gold medallist McKeever failed to qualify. The 32-year-old needed to make the top two in the K1 200m final of the Duisburg stage of the Sprint World Cup but finished fifth.

What he said:

"The two most important races of the last four years - the Worlds last year and today - were probably my worst. I can't explain why. I'm not going to dwell on it. It just didn't happen."


GB gymnasts win bronze

Dan Purvis, Sam Oldham

Why are they missing?

Team bronze medallists four years ago, Purvis and Oldham missed out on selection for Rio. Max Whitlock, Louis Smith, Kristian Thomas, Nile Wilson and Brinn Bevan make up the men's gymnastics line-up instead.

What they said:

Oldham: "I'm absolutely gutted that I have not been selected for the Rio Olympic team. I'm incredibly proud of myself and all my loved ones and support team for what we have achieved in the past two years."

Purvis: "Gutted I haven't made the Olympic team. Really thought I'd done enough, gave it my all. Congrats to my team-mates and all the best in Rio."


Grant Hackett
Hackett said of the incident: "I seriously and genuinely regret my poor behaviour. It is embarrassing to hear and read the consequences of my actions."

Grant Hackett

Why is he missing?

Australian three-time Olympic champion Hackett came out of retirement in the hope of becoming the oldest Australian swimmer to compete at the Olympics but did not make it through qualification.

Shortly after failing in his bid, the 36-year-old was forced to issue an apology amid claims he groped and assaulted a fellow airline passenger by tweaking their nipple when allegedly under the influence of alcohol.

What he said:

"It's funny, I don't feel sad at all. I'm always disappointed when I don't get a great result but I actually don't feel sad about what I've done and have achieved coming back into the sport."

Michael Jamieson

Michael Jamieson
"I love to push myself to the limit and I'm not able to do that any more," Jamieson said

Why is he missing?

A silver medallist in 2012, Britain's Michael Jamieson says he may retire after failing to qualify for Rio. The Scot, 28, came fifth in the 200m breaststroke final at the British trials in Glasgow with only the top two considered for selection.

Jamieson has endured a difficult last two years, suffering a heart scare and losing out to rival Ross Murdoch in his home Commonwealth Games.

What he said:

"My body just can't take the intensity any more. Over the last couple of years there have been psychological challenges because I've been struggling for confidence, but I know my body well enough to know when it's responding and when it's not.

"I love to push myself to the limit and I'm not able to do that any more."


Keni Harrison

Anniversary Games: Kendra Harrison sets 100m hurdles world record

Why is she missing?

American Harrison recently broke a 28-year-old world record in the 100m hurdles, clocking 12.20 seconds at the London Anniversary Games.

But the 23-year-old had already missed out on a place at Rio after only finishing sixth in the US trials.

The previous world record of 12.21 had stood since 1988 and was held by Yordanka Donkova of Bulgaria.

What she said: "The US team is the hardest to make, our country wants the top three from the trials and I was not that person. The pressure got to me on the day. I wish I could re-do that day.

"I knew I had it in me. I've still got a lot left in me, I'm definitely going to try and drop that time this season."

Sally Pearson

Aussie Pearson wins 100m hurdles gold

Why is she missing?

Australian Olympic and Commonwealth 100m hurdles champion Pearson, 29, was ruled out after suffering a torn hamstring in training in June.

What she said: "Unfortunately, it is the biggest sporting event in the world that I am going to be missing out on. It's devastating that I can't be at Rio as the Olympic champ."

Yelena Isinbayeva and the entire Russian track and field team

Yelena Isinbaeva
Isinbaeva is a two-time Olympic champion in the pole vault

Why are they missing?: Athletics' world governing body the IAAF banned Russia's athletics federation over claims of state-sponsored doping. The Russian Olympic Committee and 68 Russian athletes attempted to overturn the suspension case but the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled the ban would stand.

All 68 Russian athletes have been banned, though US-based long jumper Darya Klishina has been cleared to compete under a neutral flag. The biggest absence is three-time pole vault world champion Yelena Isinbayeva, who won Olympic gold in 2004 and 2008.

What Isinbaeva said: "Thank you all for this funeral for athletics."

Aries Merritt

Aries Merritt claims 110m hurdles Olympic gold

Why is he missing?

American Olympic 110m hurdles champion Merritt had a kidney transplant last year and missed out on a qualification place by a hundredth of a second. The 30-year-old still holds the world-record time of 12.80 seconds.

What he said: "To be where I am is a miracle, but it's a pity because in six weeks I'll be in much better shape."

Jason Richardson

Why is he missing?

Olympic silver medallist in the 110m hurdles in 2012, Richardson also narrowly missed out on a qualification place for Rio at the recent US trials.


Tejay van Garderen

Tejay van Garderen
"If anything were to happen, I couldn't live with myself," Van Garderen said of his decision to withdraw

Why is he missing?

American Van Garderen says he will not be competing at the Olympics in Rio this summer because of concerns over Zika. The virus is linked to serious birth defects and the 27-year-old's wife is pregnant.

What he said:

"If Jessica [his wife] were not pregnant right now, assuming I was selected, I would go. But I don't want to take any chances. If anything were to happen, I couldn't live with myself."

Alberto Contador

Alberto Contador
Contador, 33, is a two-time winner of the Tour de France

Why is he missing?

Spain's Contador ruled himself out of the Olympics after injury forced him to withdraw from the Tour de France. Contador pulled out of the Tour during stage nine on 10 July and said his recovery would take four weeks.

Dani King

GB's golden girls win team pursuit final

Why is she missing?

King won team pursuit gold at London 2012 and was the second-highest ranked British rider when she failed to gain selection in the GB team. She appealed against the "unfair" decision but failed to gain a place in the Great Britain road cycling team.

What they said:

"I don't think there's much I can do any more, so I will just be on that reserve spot for Rio."

Jess Varnish

Jess Varnish
Varnish had hoped to regain her place on Britain's Olympic cycling squad

Why is she missing?

Double Commonwealth bronze medallist Varnish was dropped from the Great Britain cycling team after failing to qualify for Rio. She later said she was the victim of sexist comments from technical director Shane Sutton, who denies wrongdoing but resigned.

The sprinter decided not to appeal against her omission, saying it would be a "pointless" process, but believes she will compete for Britain again.

What she said:

"It's pretty plain to see that selectors' discretion would not be in my favour and appealing would be a pointless process.

"It's sad that an organisation that once prided itself on fact and data, now pick and choose riders on discretion. I know I'm not the only rider to feel like this."


Zara Tindall

Princess Royal awards GB medals

Why is she missing?

The Queen's granddaughter became the first member of the Royal Family to win an Olympic medal with silver at London 2012 but has been left out of the squad for the Rio Games.

Scott Brash

Great Britain capture their first Olympic showjumping gold medal in 60 years

Why is he missing?

Brash was part of Britain's Olympic gold medal-winning showjumping team at London 2012 but will miss the Rio Games. The Scot, 30, has been ruled out after his top two rides picked up injuries. Brash was the top-ranked showjumper in the world last year and is still GB's leading rider in the global standings.


Zoe Smith

Why is she missing?

Rebekah Tiler won the battle for Britain's sole female weightlifting place after Smith failed to recover from injury.

Smith, who competed at London 2012 and won Commonwealth gold in 2014, was the favourite before dislocating her shoulder at the GB Championships in June.

What she said: "It would be an understatement to say I'm disappointed not to be going to Rio.

"I've been struggling with injury since the beginning of the year which has seriously hindered - and eventually ended - my road to Rio, so although I'd obviously rather be competing, I'm glad I can give myself the break from competing that my body clearly needs."

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