Katarina Johnson-Thompson May Be Out of The Olympics But She's Still Our Champion

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Katarina Johnson-Thompson, a fan favourite and world champion, crashed out of the Tokyo Olympics when an old injury returned during a 200m sprint.

Viewers were devastated when she fell behind her opponents in the race, clearly in pain, before curling up on the ground.

She fell out of her lane in the process – meaning she was disqualified from the race – while medics rushed to the athlete with a wheelchair.

Johnson-Thompson reacts after falling down in the 200m (Photo: Andrew Boyers via Reuters)
Johnson-Thompson reacts after falling down in the 200m (Photo: Andrew Boyers via Reuters)

In a heart-breaking picture, the athlete covered her face with her hands and lay on the the track.

But, amazingly, Johnson-Thompson refused all their offers of assistance and gently jogged across the finish line after testing her weight on her injury.

The athlete has struggled with competitions over the last year following a serious Achilles problem.

During this race, usually one of Johnson-Thompson’s stronger events, a newer calf injury also arose, further challenging the 28-year-old.

The Team GB star had gone into the 200m in fifth place, slipping down from third after her efforts in the shot put.

The Liverpudlian reportedly refused to speak to the media afterwards but has received waves of support and words of admiration from fans.

Johnson-Thompson completes the 200m segment of the women's heptathlon alone (Photo: Joe Giddens - PA Images via Getty Images)
Johnson-Thompson completes the 200m segment of the women's heptathlon alone (Photo: Joe Giddens - PA Images via Getty Images)

The athlete has been heavily praised online, with one person on Twitter noting: “Injured, yet she still finished the Heptathlon 200m, that takes guts.”

Others said her behaviour was a real lesson in “how to be an Olympian”, while another fan said: “You’ll always be a champion. No matter the setback, you’ll come back stronger.”

The official account for Liverpool City Region also tweeted: “Your determination, even in adversity, is an inspiration to us all. We’re proud of you #KJT.”

Of course, she was already a superstar in her field before this amazing display of determination.

Johnson-Thompson won the gold medal at the 2019 World Championships and broke the British record at the time, meaning she ranked sixth on the lists of the best all-time heptathletes.

Addressing her heartbreaking exit, BBC reporter Jeanette Kwakye said: “I think we all thought it was amazing to see her run in the hurdles but there was limping after the high jump and there was always going to be a lot of stress on the Achilles.”

Johnson-Thompson had been pipped to take home a medal after she started the heptathlon with her second fastest time ever, completing her 100m hurdles heat in 13.27 seconds.

Johnson-Thompson with her Gold medal for the heptathlon during the 2019 IAAF World Championships  (Photo: Martin Rickett - PA Images via Getty Images)
Johnson-Thompson with her Gold medal for the heptathlon during the 2019 IAAF World Championships (Photo: Martin Rickett - PA Images via Getty Images)

Fellow heptathletes shared their sympathies with Johnson-Thompson, with Jessica Ennis-Hill – Britain’s 2012 gold medallist for the women’s heptathlon – telling the BBC: “She’s had that 18-month lay-off when it’s really hard to maintain that, how hard you push with training.

“The event is so gruelling and it’s ended up in injury. It’s utterly, utterly devastating.”

Johnson-Thompson is the third figure on the GB athletics team to see their Olympics end in injury this year.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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