Posts Tagged ‘gymnastics injury’

Shun Fujimoto: An Olympic Hero

Monday, December 8th, 2008

At the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Nadia Comaneci was the talk of the town. Olga Korbut may have put gymnastics on the Olympic map four years earlier, but Comaneci continued its run as one of the most popular Olympic sports when she captured headlines by scoring seven Perfect 10s.

Nadia Comaneci, 1976 Olympic Games, Uneven Bars

Though Nadia’s name remains one of the most recognized in the sport, there is another gymnast who could be considered a hero from same Olympic Games. The Japanese men were engaged in a tough battle with the Soviet Union for the team title, and they had a rich heritage to defend; Shun Fujimoto’s team was attempting to win a fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal. During the team competition, Fujimoto fractured his kneecap competing on his first apparatus of the day, Floor Exercise. He didn’t acknowledge that the injury had occurred, lest he discourage his teammates or show weakness to the judges. He continued on to Pommel Horse and finally the Still Rings, where he would have to land a half-in half-out dismount on a hurt leg. In a brave display of Olympic spirit, Fujimoto performed his Ring routine for a career-high 9.70. He landed in agony on the mat below, dislocating his fractured kneecap and tearing ligaments. Fujimoto could no longer hide his injury, Fujimoto was forced to withdraw. He did, however, contribute to Japan’s 0.40 victory over the Soviet Union. Shun Fujimoto: An Olympic Hero.

Shun Fujimoto, 1976 Olympic Games, Still Rings

“Fujimoto took home two souvenirs – a gold medal and a cast on his leg.”  –Sports Illustrated