Contender Blakely out of US Olympic gymnastics trials with ruptured Achilles

Skye Blakely competes on balance beam during the US Gymnastics Championships in Fort Worth, Texas (ELSA)
Skye Blakely competes on balance beam during the US Gymnastics Championships in Fort Worth, Texas (ELSA)

Skye Blakely, a two-time team world champion expected to contend for a Paris berth at the US Olympic gymnastics trials, withdrew Thursday with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

The 19-year-old from Texas was injured in training at the Target Center trials venue on Wednesday and withdrew on Thursday morning.

She posted a statement on X -- formerly Twitter -- on Thursday evening, shortly before the trials began with men's competition -- exactly one month before the start of gymnastics competition in Paris.

"Unfortunately I ruptured my achilles during podium training," Blakely wrote. "This is not the way I saw my olympic trials going or how my season ends.

"I'm going to keep my chin high and be proud of the statement I have made for myself these past couple years. I'll be back".

In podium training on Wednesday, Blakely had completed a floor exercise tumbling pass and fell to the mat, receiving treatment from medical staff before being carried off the podium and departing the arena in a wheelchair.

"During podium training on Wednesday, Skye Blakely sustained a right Achilles injury and will be unable to compete in Olympic Trials," USA Gymnastics said in a statement on Thursday morning.

The trials to select five men and five women for the US Olympic team started Thursday with men's competition. They conclude on Saturday while the field of 15 women, led by Simone Biles, will compete on Friday and Sunday.

The injury is a devastating blow for a gymnast who arrived in Minneapolis off a runner-up finish to Biles earlier this month at the US championships in Fort Worth, Texas.

There, Blakely unveiled a difficult Cheng vault that earned her a first 15-point score of her career.

The injury is a painful echo of trials for Tokyo in 2021, when Blakely, then a 16-year-old longshot to make the team, was hurt warming up on vault shortly before competition began and had to withdraw.