Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson showed incredible courage to finish the heptathlon 200 metre race at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The reigning world heptathlon champion picked up an achilles injury at the end of last year, but was thought to have recovered in time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Her injury woes returned during today’s 200m race, however, leaving Johnson-Thompson on the floor as she pulled up in the final stretch.
She looked devastated at first, lying on the floor in agony as her Olympic dreams collapsed in front of her. As a wheelchair was brought over to the stricken athlete, Johnson-Thompson changed demeanour, waving off a wheelchair brought over to her by doctors.
The 28-year-old then showed incredible courage and determination to limp across the line to finish the race. Her bravery has been described as an “incredible Olympic moment.”
Although Johnson-Thompson crossed the line, she was still disqualified from the 200m as she had left her lane. She has now withdrawn from the heptathlon completely. Although it was thought Johnson-Thompson was struggling with her old Achilles injury, UK Athletics have since revealed she picked up a new injury in her calf.
Going into the 200m, Johnson-Thompson was sitting in fifth in the heptathlon. She had finished eight in the 100m hurdles, second in the high jump, and 15th in the shot put. The long jump, javelin and 800m is scheduled for tomorrow.
Johnson-Thompson was a doubt for Tokyo 2020 after she ruptured her Achilles in December and underwent surgery for the injury. She missed three months of training and only returned to competition in June, competing at just three events before the Games.
Denise Lewis, the Sydney 2000 Olympic heptathlon champion, praised Johnson-Thompson for managing to reach Tokyo 2020 and revealed she was “gutted” for the athlete.
“She hasn’t contested a 200m for a while,” Lewis said on the BBC. “The turn puts a lot of stress on those Achilles tendons.
“I am so gutted for her, so gutted for her. She has worked so hard to get to this stage. She increased the strapping for the 200m. This was the test event. Someone’s heart has been trashed on the track. It will be hard for her to come back from this emotionally – but she will.”
London 2012 heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis Hill added that the re-emergence of her Achilles injury would be “utterly devastating” for Johnson-Thompson.