Olympic Heptathlete Refuses Help After Injuring Leg, Crosses Finish Line: 'Heartbreaking'
It was a moment that was as inspirational as it was heartbreaking.
On Wednesday, British heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson fell on the track after injuring her right calf during a 200-meter race at the Tokyo Olympics. When medics approached with a wheelchair, the 28-year-old refused assistance and instead rose to her feet to painfully jog toward the finish line.
"Heartbreaking. We're all with you, Kat," the Team GB Twitter account posted after Johnson-Thompson's injury.
According to Yahoo Sports, Johnson-Thompson ruptured her Achilles tendon in December but managed to put on a commendable performance in the Olympic heptathlon, made up of seven track and field events. Before entering the 200-meter race, she was in fifth place.
Despite the remarkable moment, Olympic organizers disqualified Johnson-Thompson from the event for leaving her lane after falling.
With her disqualification from the 200-meter race, Johnson-Thompson was left in last place, effectively putting her medal hopes out of reach.
"I'm just so gutted for her," former heptathlon champion Denise Lewis said of Johnson-Thompson, according to BBC. "So gutted for her. She's worked so hard to get to this stage."
The sentiment was echoed by Jessica Ennis-Hill, another former champion.
"She had the best year of her life in 2019, she was ready to go," she said. "When you're in that position, going into an Olympic year, that's the best place you can be – you just need to ride through the winter, maintain that form, and you're at the Olympics."
"The event is so grueling and it's ended up in injury," Ennis-Hill added. "It's utterly, utterly devastating for her."
RELATED VIDEO: First-Ever Surfing Gold Medalist Carissa Moore: "I Never Thought When I Was a Little Girl This Would be Possible"
BBC trackside reporter Jeanette Kwakye, a former Olympian, told the outlet he noticed Johnson-Thompson limping after she competed in the high jump.
The 200-meter event was the final event of the day for the heptathlon on Wednesday, according to ESPN. Thursday will see the athletes compete in the long jump, javelin and 800-meter race.
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.