Watch: French swimmer dislocates shoulder while celebrating Olympics qualification

Rafael Fente-Damers in agony after dislocating his shoulder celebrating
Rafael Fente-Damers in agony after dislocating his shoulder while celebrating - AFP/Sebastien Bozon

A French teenage swimmer has been taken to hospital with a dislocated shoulder after injuring himself during celebrations at qualifying for the Paris Olympics next month.

Rafael Fente-Damers appeared to secure his place in the France team by finishing second in the 100m freestyle final at the French Olympic trials, but then promptly paid a heavy price for exuberantly slapping the water in delight with his left arm.

It very suddenly left the 18-year-old swimming protege open-mouthed in pain and, as he realised the damage, pointing at his shoulder for help.

Fente-Damers then required help leaving the pool and, after being pictured on the podium while grinning with his arm in a sling, he was taken to hospital for further tests. Fente-Damers, who had also earned a spot on France’s 4x100m relay team after finishing behind Maxime Grousset, had recorded a personal best of 48.14sec to finish 0.2sec inside the French qualifying standing.

Rafael Fente-Damers on the podium with his arm in a sling
Fente-Damers on the podium with his arm in a sling - AFP/Sebastien Bozon

“I hope it goes well for him because we’re waiting for him for the relay,” said Grousset, who was among those who helped Fente-Damers out of the pool. “He’s a bit crazy, that’s why he’s good. He’s not afraid of anything and I think he’s going to progress.”

According to Le Parisien, Fente-Damers was “immediately taken care of by the emergency services” who diagnosed dislocation and helped to have “his shoulder put back in place”.

He is not the first sportsperson to injure himself while celebrating. Portsmouth striker Lomana LuaLua injured his foot while landing his trademark somersault celebration after scoring a goal in 2006, while Arsenal defender Steve Morrow famously broke his arm after falling off Tony Adams’ shoulders while they celebrated winning the 1993 League Cup.

Swimming is always among the first events of the Olympics and Fente-Damers now has less than six weeks to recover until the action begins inside París’s La Defense Arena.