Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s bid for a medal at Tokyo 2020 is over after she suffered a devastating injury in the heptathlon.
The reigning world champion collapsed to the track after pulling up in the 200 metres, the fourth event and last of the opening day.
However, she evoked memories of Derek Redmond’s heartbreaking hobble at Barcelona '92 by getting to her feet – rejecting the wheelchair on standby – and gingerly jogging down the home straight to finish. The 28-year-old was quickly disqualified for leaving her lane, but her Olympics were already over by this point.
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The blow came barely an hour after an impressive throw of 13.31m in the shot, one of her weakest events, had put her in with a serious medal shout.
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Team GB have experienced rotten luck on the track in Tokyo, Keely Hodgkinson's magnificent silver in the women's 800m aside.
Dina Asher-Smith failed to reach the women’s 100m final, and then pulled out of the 200m, after revealing she had torn her hamstring in the build-up to the Games, while Adam Gemili tore the same muscle before the men’s 200m heats.
Johnson-Thompson had surgery on a ruptured Achilles in December, but British Athletics later announced that it was not a recurrence of that injury.
"Unfortunately Katarina Johnson-Thompson sustained an injury to her right calf during the 200m and has had to withdraw from the heptathlon," read a statement from British Athletics.
"To confirm, it is not a repeat of her recent Achilles injury which was on her left leg. There will be no further comment this evening."
Her heptathlon started brightly in the 100m hurdles, beating defending champion Nafi Thiam as she won her heat in 13.27 seconds.
But she was unable to match Thiam in the high jump, finishing with 1.86m to the Belgian’s 1.92m as her hopes of gold started to look slim, before those hopes vanished completely in heartbreaking circumstances later on Wednesday.
Johnson-Thompson picked herself up to jog over the finish line
Image credit: Getty Images
'Fact she made it is remarkable'
Eurosport expert and 2012 long jump champion Greg Rutherford was in the Olympic Stadium to see Johnson-Thompson's distress, but insisted just being at the Games was a remarkable achievement for the Liverpudlian.
“Sadly this Olympic games isn’t going to be for KJT," he said.
"We knew coming into this it was going to be a massively tall task to get her through what is a very, very gruelling event in the heptathlon.
"I know it’s been talked about, she fully ruptured her Achilles in December. The fact that she made the Olympic Games is remarkable.
"It shows the fact that medical science has moved forward leaps and bounds to help athletes. That was the sort of injury that would end careers not so long ago. But she was here and she was determined to give it her absolute all but it wasn’t to be."
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