French gymnast Samir Ait Said suffered a leg injury during artistic gymnastics men’s team qualification at the Rio Olympics on Friday.
The French athlete, Ait Said, broke his leg left leg at the Rio Olympics Arena as he landed badly during the men’s qualification event. Ait Said was performing on the first day of men’s gymnastics when he suffered a horrific leg break in the vault.
The crowd gasped when the leg’s crack was heard for all attendants. The arena medical personnel immediately rushed to assist the gymnast who was rolling over and trying to hold his leg just below the knee as the lower half dangled in the opposite direction of the rest of his leg.
Ait Said laid on the ground for several minutes as medical personnel worked on him. His injury was not a compound fracture (when the bone breaks through the skin), so medical personnel could stabilize him before he was moved to prevent additional damage to his leg.
French team leader, Corrine Moustard-Callon, said Ait Said was taken to a local hospital. Moustard-Callon did not provide details about the injury; she only said it was the tibia.
The leg’s sharp crack was heard throughout the arena
Fans and gymnasts sitting closer to the vault area, and even from far away, said they could hear Ait Said’s leg snap.
A U.S. Olympic gymnast, Chris Brooks, said he heard the sharp crack of Ait Said’s left leg. Brooks was at the other end of the floor getting ready for his turn on the high bar, in the third rotation. The vault area where French gymnasts were competing was far away from where Brooks was.
Another United States gymnast, Danell Leyva, the 2012 Olympic all-around bronze medallist, said he heard other gymnasts saying “don’t look, don’t look.”
Other witnesses reported that Ait Said’s suffered a gruesome injury in his lower left leg on the vault landing. The crowd and Olympic gymnasts in the arena were shocked by Ait Said’s injury.
The 26-year-old French athlete received applauses and support from the crowd when he was finally loaded onto a stretcher as he was taken out of the arena. Ait Said put a hand up in acknowledgment.
French teammate, Cyril Tommasone, said the moment was tough and emotional at the same time. Tommasone also said that his mate’s injury has been hard for the French and Ait Said.
The French veteran was considered a legitimate medal contender on rings in Rio 2016.
France won’t, unfortunately, make the team final, currently in the eighth position with one subdivision still to go. However, French teammates were focused on finishing the competition for their mate and the entire delegation.
“It is very difficult for the team. He was one of the friendliest on the team which is very difficult – he came to win a medal and gave everything, 200%. Even though we’re on different teams we know each other and I’ve known Samir since I was 14. It really sucks, but we have a job to do,” said French team leader, Corrine Moustard-Callon.
The resulting eight teams on top will make Monday night’s final.
Source: USA Today