Jo Hyunjoo of South Korea waves to spectators on the podium after winning the women's vault final at the 26th Summer Universiade in Shenzhen August 16, 2011. [Photo/Xinhua]
She got injured, she came back from hospital, and she won a gold medal. All in 24 hours.
Jo Hyunjoo, an 18-year-old student from South Korea, showed her strong nerve in the women's vault final at the Shenzhen Universiade here on Tuesday night.
"My injury is not very serious. I am very happy to win a gold as it's my first time to attend the Universiade," she said in smile at the press conference after her triumph on the vault.
Ranking first in the preliminary round of the women's all-around final, Jo was the most favorite to win a gold medal on Monday afternoon. Unfortunately, spectators, who were amazed by her beautiful unfoldings and steady finish, were stunned by her fall off the uneven bars with her head toward the ground.
She was rushed to a medical room in the gymnasium on a stretcher. Medical staff said that she might have her cervical vertebra injured, if confirmed, would ruined her career, even her life.
Thousands of spectators would recall their painful memory on a similar case -- Chinese gymnast Sang Lan, who injured her neck in the United States at Goodwill Games in 1998, is still trapped in a wheelchair.
South Korean gymnast Jo Hyun-joo lies on the ground after falling off the uneven bars during the women's all-around final at the 26th Summer Universiade in Shenzhen, Aug 15, 2011. [Photo/Asianewsphoto]
But Jo is lucky.
Four hours later, she was released from hospital with the diagnosis that only a soft tissue was injured to her neck, relieving thousands who were caring about her injury.
However, no one could believe her neck could bear a medal's weight last night, let alone a gold.
Twenty hours later, Jo, rallying from the injury, finished her first vault with a soft rolling flight and a neat steady landing.
She got an incredible 14.225 points.
Spectators could see the smile on her face when she prepared for her final vault; a 5.0 difficulty would cause no problem for her. 14.087 in average, she dominated the competition with an advantage of 0.2 points.
"I've got some pain on my neck tonight, but nothing serious," Jo said with the gold medal hanging around her neck.