Hector Pardoe/Instagram Hector Pardoe
British swimmer Hector Pardoe had to withdraw from the men's 10k marathon swim at the Tokyo Summer Olympics after getting elbowed in the face.
Up until suffering the injury during the final lap, the 20-year-old athlete's goal of getting a medal was still in reach — but things quickly changed following the blow.
"I got an elbow in the eye — I'm not sure who it was — on the last lap. My goggle snapped off and I couldn't see a thing," he said afterwards, according to Swimming World Magazine. "It swelled up and I didn't realise how bad it was — it was all blurry."
"I couldn't see anything and thought my eye had fallen out in the water and I was going up to the lifeguard screaming 'my eye, my eye, is it OK?' " he explained, per the BBC.
Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Hector Pardoe
Although he initially soldiered on, Pardoe eventually withdrew from the race.
"It's fine, I've just got a big stitch they'll sort in the village, but it's bleeding everywhere," he added of his injury, according to the BBC.
Germany's Florian Wellbrock went on to win the race, while Hungary's Kristóf Rasovszky came in second and Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri got the bronze.
Pardoe went on to share some photos of his injury after getting his eye looked at. "Elbow to the eye at 8K, googles snapped off and sunk," he wrote on Instagram, noting that he wasn't letting the experience define his time in Tokyo.
"Still smiling though," he added.
Ultimately, the young athlete's only regret is that he wasn't able to finish the race.
"I've never not finished a 10km before, so yeah it's really disappointing it's in the Olympics, the biggest stage of them all," he said, according to Swimming World Magazine.
However, he hopes to try again in 2024. "I'm still young and know I can come back stronger in Paris and hopefully try and challenge for the medals," he added.
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.