Shoulder Surgery Will Keep France’s Mehdy Metella Out of Tokyo Games

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Mehdy Metella announced he won't swim at the 2020 Olympic Games. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Mehdy Metella (Shoulder Surgery)

Just days before the official start of the Olympic year, Frenchman Mehdy Metella announced via social media that he will undergo shoulder surgery and, consequently, will miss the 2020 Games in Tokyo. Metella’s announcement is not only a blow to his personal goals, but also a big loss for the French National Team, which has relied on Metella for key relay contributions through the years.

“As you can imagine, I am extremely disappointed and sad to miss this event, but I promise to come back stronger in 2021,” Metella wrote in French on his Instagram account.

Metella is no stranger to excelling at major international competitions, having collected 19 medals between the Olympics, World Championships and European Championships. At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Metella handled the leadoff leg on France’s 400 freestyle relay that captured the silver medal behind the United States. Metella also finished sixth in the 100 butterfly, an event that was won by Joseph Schooling and featured a three-way tie for the silver medal between Michael Phelps, Laszlo Cseh and Chad Le Clos.

At last summer’s World Championships in Gwangju, Metella finished fifth in the 100 butterfly, missing the podium by .22. He was also a semifinalist in the 100 freestyle and a member of France’s eighth-place team in the 400 freestyle relay. Metella was the bronze medalist in the 100 freestyle at the 2017 World Championships and twice medaled in the 100 fly at the European Championships. He was also a European Champs medalist in the 100 freestyle. In relay duty, Metella has helped France to three medals at the World Championships.

In his social media post, Metella made it clear that his shoulder surgery would not deter his career. The Frenchman emphasized that he was seeking to return for a successful 2021 season, in which the World Championships will be the target meet of the year.