Olympic Boxer Regrets Putting Silver Medal in Pocket While on Podium but Admits, 'I Feel Like a Failure'

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Benjamin Whittaker
Benjamin Whittaker

BUDA MENDES/POOL/AFP via Getty

Heartbroken British boxer Ben Whittaker said he regretted taking off his silver medal while on the podium at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 24-year-old faced off against Cuban boxer Arlen Lopez in the light heavyweight final in Japan on Wednesday, missing out on the gold medal after four of the five judges scored in Lopez's favor, ESPN reported.

Though he still earned a place on the podium, a visibly disappointed Whittaker removed his silver medal from around his neck and instead placed it in his pocket and cried, according to BBC.

"You don't win silver, you lose gold. I'm very disappointed — I feel like a failure," he told reporters following his second-place performance, the outlet reported.

"You're in this game to win gold," Whittaker added. "I don't want to feel like this again. I'm going to put this to the back of my mind. I'll come back, trust me."

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Benjamin Whittaker
Benjamin Whittaker

BUDA MENDES/POOL/AFP via Getty Ben Whittaker

According to journalist Nick Hope, Whittaker's coach yelled at him from stands after he took off his medal, telling him, "Come on Ben enjoy it, you'll never get this moment back!"

While posing for photographs, Whittaker took the medal out of his pocket and held it in his hand as Lopez proudly displayed his Olympic hardware.

Whittaker later expressed regret about his decision to remove his medal but spoke openly about his disappointment for not having won the tournament.

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"I don't want to look like a baby or a spoiled brat but I am so upset that I didn't win the gold. I feel like I lost gold. I can't celebrate silver… I was doing it for everybody at home and I felt like a failure," he told the outlet, according to the New York Post.

"At the time, I should have put this beautiful silver medal round my neck and smiled because this is not just for me, it's for the country," he continued.

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Whittaker said he may one day feel his second-place finish at the Olympics was a "great achievement," but admitted he couldn't enjoy it at the moment. He also thanked his fans for their support.

"I want to thank God for putting me in this position," he said, "and everyone in Great Britain for getting behind me. ... Sorry for making you wake up and seeing me let you down."

To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.

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