After an injury cut short his long road to Olympic redemption, John Orozco penned an emotional Instagram, in which he said his “dreams of Olympic gold were never meant to be.”
The message, posted on his Instagram on Monday, comes after the 23-year-old elite gymnast’s withdrawal from the team due to an ACL injury.
Orozco, who re-tore his Achilles in 2015, had been rehabbing for months in preparation for the Olympic trials. When he was named to the team in June he told NBC that he “just couldn’t believe it.”
Orozco, who lost his mother, Damaris, suddenly in 2015, told PEOPLE previously he was looking forward to the Olympics so he could compete in honor of his mother.
“I’m beyond devastated to say that my road to Rio has come to an abrupt end. Last week during Olympic Team camp, I re-tore my ACL/meniscus. At this point in my life I’m reminded of one word that I learned from my favorite book (The Alchemist) “Maktub” which in Arabic means “It is written” (meant to be) and like the common theme of the book I truly believe the universe conspires to guide us to our destiny with what we perceive as coincidences, signs, and omens,” he wrote.
” But maybe I have a different purpose that has yet to reveal itself? I’m forever grateful for the opportunities gymnastics have given me in life, the amazing people I’ve met through my career in the sport, and the life lessons I’ve learned. I’m humbled by the unwavering love and support of my family, friends, coaches, USA medical staff, personal doctors, and fans,” he continued.
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The gymnast closed his post with a tear-jerking sentiment to his gymnastics career and his late mother, who he has said was his number one fan.
“Tragedy seems to be a recurring theme in my life, but looking back on my career I wouldn’t change a single thing,” he wrote.
Danell Leyva, who will take Orozco’s place in Rio, also turned to social media to announce his own addition to the squad heading to Brazil in August.
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In an Instagram video recording, the 24-year-old said “this wasn’t the way” he wanted to make the team, though.
“I’m incredibly honored to be chosen for the team but I’m equally devastated for John, seeing how much he’s fought and battled for his spot makes these circumstances even harder,” he said.
“I’ve known John for a very long time and his strength and determination motivates me to work as hard as possible to be the best athlete I can be,” he continued.
Speaking directly to Orozco, he added, “I know we’ll all do our best to make you proud.”