Last week, the world took notice of two amazing athletes: Michael Phelps and Gabby Douglas. Phelps, for his part, had started the week with a poor showing against Ryan Lochte, causing many to think his days as a gold medal olympian would be over long before Rio. But that was at the beginning. Today, he is the most decorated olympian of all time. Then there was Douglas, an adorable young gymnast with a smile to light up every room. Helping her peers win gold for the group-all-around wasn’t enough. Up against a surging and remarkable performance from Russia’s Viktoria Komova, Douglas took gold for the individual-all-around as well.
When it comes to the gymnastics portion of the 2012 Summer Olympics, athletes often struggle to hold their composure. The vault, floor routines, pommel horses, balance beams, and uneven bars are just a snapshot of the many ways in which these gymnasts try to demonstrate their strengths. And for those who have watched over the years, injuries can be potentially devastating (aka, Kerri Strug, from the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta).
So it is that we empathize with Canadian gymnast, Elsabeth Black, who twisted her ankle during the first individual Olympic vault on Sunday. Physicians came to her with a wheelchair and she refused it, opting instead to limp her way back to the bench. The 16-year-old has nothing to be ashamed of, however. She helped her team take a 5th place finish in the group final, the best marks that Canada has ever received in the competition. The injured ankle now means that she can focus on the possibility of healing and returning to Rio in 2016.
What would the Olympics be without the occasional injury? The question isn’t whether you may get hurt, but how you handle the pain when it comes. For now, Black is all smiles. And we expect to see her again along with competitors like Gabby Douglas. Swimmers will not see Michael Phelps in the water again, though. At least that’s what he says.
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