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For Some Olympic Athletes, The Games Are Already Over

There are still nearly two more weeks of events at the Rio Olympics. In fact, some sports haven't even begun competition yet — track and field, badminton and taekwondo among them.

But for a couple of hundred athletes in a few sports, their games are already over. Their events were held, start to finish, this past weekend.

Among the "one and done" group is weightlifter Morghan King, 30, of Seattle. Five feet tall, 105 pounds and sporting her trademark orange-and-silver manicure for luck, she competed on Saturday night in the 48 kilogram weight class.

She managed to hoist more than double her body weight in the clean and jerk event,lifting 100 kg.

In the snatch event, she set a new U.S. record of 83 kg.

Morghan King shows off her lucky manicure. "I'm done!" she says.
Melissa Block / NPR
Morghan King shows off her lucky manicure. "I'm done!" she says.

No medal, though. She ended up in sixth place.

And that's it! King's Olympics are over.

"I'm done!" she told me with a giggle. "It's a little surreal."

Surreal, but also, I wondered, maybe a bit anticlimactic?

"No, no," King assured me. "I get to show up, do what I came to do, everything I've been working for in the past four years, and then I get to enjoy the Olympics!"

So that's the upside.

She'll put in for tickets to watch her fellow athletes compete. While her U.S. teammates are full of angst about their events, she's free to chill.

"We're in Brazil, one of the most beautiful places in the world. You can't beat that!"

King plans to do some sightseeing — Sugarloaf Mountain and Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue are tops on her list. "And then I want to go to the beach," she said.

She's unfazed by the notorious pollution of Rio's waters. "I know everyone's really scared of it, but I'm willing to take the risk."

The Olympics are also over for Australian air pistol shooter Blake Blackburn.

His event — the 10-meter men's qualification — was on Saturday, too, which means that, like Morghan King, he had to skip the fun of Friday's opening ceremonies. That celebration went long into the night.

"Straightaway, once I saw the schedule, I told myself, I told all the coaches, I'm not going," he said. "It's something that would have been awesome to go to, but at the same time, I'm here for a job, here for a reason. And that was always what comes first."

Blackburn came in 36th of 46 in the qualifiers, so he did not advance to the finals. He said that today he'll be back in the gym, training for the next competition.

Tokyo 2020, anyone?

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As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.