As the German men’s gymnastics team made it to the qualifying round for the finals, many believed its tragic fate was sealed when one of the gymnasts, Andreas Toba, suffered a painful and serious knee injury.
Having executed a front flip with two twists, Toba mangled his knee as he landed. The pain hit immediately. Clutching his knee, he asks for help with anguished eyes. As trainers rushed to him, Toba was visibly shattered. The son of an Olympic gymnast, Toba wept uncontrollably as his Olympic journey apparently screeched to a halt.
But, as it turns out, there was still a narrow opening for the finals. One event was left, the pommel horse. According to the rules of the Olympics, the worst score from each side is eliminated. With the obvious prospect of Toba’s score being automatically eliminated due to his inability to participate, the German team was under intense pressure.
But in the true spirit of endurance and sportsmanship, Toba decided to give it a shot. Although the horse involved the arms primarily, the athlete still has to dismount on his legs. Limping up to the horse, Toba gracefully completed his routine, and landed neatly on his knees.
The routine has drawn parallels with Kerri Strug’s awe-inspiring vault at the 1996 Olympics. Despite an ankle injury, the athlete had brought gold home.
Germany finished eighth and made it to the team finals.