In our business and personal lives, we can find motivation from by people who overcome great difficulties to succeed. This 5 part series is focused on Olympic athletes who have endured injury, but persevered; facing their pain and not letting it deter them from their goals.
The Japanese Iron Man
In the 1960s and 70s, the Japanese built a dynasty in men's
gymnastics; by the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Japan had won the team gold in
the last four Olympics.
In the team finals in Montreal, however, on the final tumble
of his floor routine, Japanese team member Shun Fujimoto broke his kneecap.
Fearing that the team would not win if he withdrew from the meet, Fujimoto hid
the extent of his injury and competed in his final two events of the day:
pommel horse and rings.
He scored 9.5 on the pommel horse and then, still hiding the
pain from the broken knee, moved on to the rings. "I knew that if my
posture was not good on landing, I would not receive a good score. I knew I
must try to forget the pain". In his dismount, he pulled a twisting triple
somersault, later admitting "the pain went through me like a knife".
He landed with a perfect finish, grimacing as his knee buckled slightly, and,
with tears in eyes, raising his arms high before collapsing in agony. He scored
9.7, his best ever result.
The dismount worsened his injury, dislocating his broken
kneecap and tearing ligaments in his right leg. Doctors ordered him to withdraw
from further competition or risk permanent disability. One doctor stated: "How
he managed to do somersaults and twists and land without collapsing in screams
is beyond my comprehension."
Now a man short, the Japanese team were inspired to gold by
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