French gymnast Samir Ait Said breaks leg on vault

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Warning: graphic content

One of France’s top gymnasts and a medal contender on still rings suffered a gruesome leg injury on the landing of his vault during subdivison 2 of the men’s gymnastics qualification session.

26-year-old Samir Ait Said posted the third highest score on still rings earlier in the session and was likely to make the final. Ait Said is a four-time European championships medalist on rings, including gold in 2013.

His Olympics are likely over, however. Andrea Joyce reported from the Olympic Arena that the injury is an open fracture to the left tibia of Ait Said’s leg.

After crashing the landing of his vault, Ait Said rolled onto his back as his left lower leg hung at a disturbing angle. Covering his face with his hands, Ait Said stayed mostly stoic as his French teammates and coaches reacted.

Many in the audience shielded their eyes. But as the medical staff loaded Ait Said onto a stretcher and carried him out of the arena, they gave him a standing ovation.

Just minutes before Ait Said’s injury, Germany’s Andreas Tobas injured his knee during the first tumbling pass of his floor exercise. He was unable to continue and received a score of 1.633. However, he was returned and competed for his team in the next rotation, pommel horse, to post a solid score of 14.233.Watch the full event replay of subdivision 2 of men’s gymnastics qualifying here. 

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