Romanian gymnast Larisa Iordache withdrew from the final of the balance beam at the Tokyo Games on Tuesday because of an ankle injury.
Her club in Bucharest later said she’d been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in her left ankle and wished her well.
”We can’t ask more from you than is possible. We are right with you, Larisa! ” Dinamo Bucharest said in a statement.
After announcing her withdrawal at the last moment, the 25-year-old gymnast tweeted a statement alluding to her mother, who died four weeks before the Games began.
“I tried and hoped until the last moment for this Olympic final,” she wrote. “I wanted to do it for me and for .. (the) person who pushed me down this road, who unfortunately is no longer next to me and I can’t get a word of encouragement from.”
I tried and hoped until the last moment for this Olympic final. Unfortunately, again, my way is hardened… this pain in my ankle that I feel is above my limit as a human being.”
“With Larisa’s permission, we present the diagnosis she received in Tokyo… It’s not a simple sprain, (which she’s recovered from in the meantime), but a more serious problem: she has osteoarthritis in her left ankle,” the statement read.
Simone Biles won her seventh Olympic medal on Tuesday on the women’s beam. She fought off a spatial awareness issue known as the ‘twisties’ that led her to withdraw early in the women’s team final last week, citing a desire to protect her mental health.
She subsequently pulled out of the first three of the four individual finals for which she had qualified.
Ms Iordache came within half a point of beating Simone Biles in the all-around at the 2014 world championships.
She suffered injuries just before the 2012 Olympics, the 2016 Olympics and the 2017 world championships.
‘Proving to myself’
She told the New York Times: “The feeling of proving to myself that I am better than I think has never diminished in my soul. So I couldn’t let my thoughts overwhelm me, and I got up every time.”
“This time I really thought it would be alright. But my road does not stop here, with this missed chance. For now I’ll take a break and I will start again when I’m fully prepared,”both mentally and physically she said.
“And I thank you, those who hoped and encouraged me.”