I imagine most of my subscribers are also social media users so will have seen today’s horrible news on Claudia’s accounts, my accounts, any number of gymnastics related accounts, but in case you’re not a Twitter/Facebook/Instagram fan, there is sad news from the GB camp today.
I hate injuries, who doesn’t, but some seem worse than others. They are all awful, any of the injuries that will keep gymnasts out for a while are awful, but sometimes it’s the injuries paired with the timing that makes them seem that bit more unfair.
Becky Downie a skill away from a likely third European bars gold last June, Ellie Downie a credible GB first ever World AA Champion contender coming into last Autumn, to name just two recent heartbreaking combinations of timing plus scale of injury.
A week before the British Championships, Claudia has snapped her Achillies, in her own words:
This would be a tough injury to take at any time, it’s a long recovery, she will be back whenever she’s back. What makes it all the more heartbreaking is that Claudia was about to challenge incredibly strongly for the British AA, floor and beam titles, then head to the Gold Coast four years on from the event which launched her out of just the gymnastics community, and into the public eye. The Commonwealth Games launched the ‘Pocket Rocket’, four gold medals, the media darling, and then four years have followed of being an integral part of the elevation of British WAG to a higher step on the world stage.
For me, Claudia has simply not looked better that we have seen her come out this year so far, in terms of potential for the year ahead. She finished 2017 as GB’s second ever individual WAG world medalist for floor work that harnessed all that power, and gave it some Strictly polish. Since then, both in training and competition she has looked even cleaner, even sharper, brought back her double twisting Yurchenko, and shown the best and most efficient bar work of her career. She looked ready to go on from Commonwealths to take European medals, and into the Autumn helping GB on that first step of Olympic qualification.
Disappointment for fans of English and British Gymnastics, ramifications for results as when any of the top girls are sidelined by injury. There is of course though no one that this is more devastating for than Claudia herself, and the outpouring of love and support for her today from the online gymnastics community has been lovely to see. From her online presence it is clear that Claudia has a wonderful family surrounding her, that her gym Bristol Hawks, and her Coaches Helen Potter and Rory Weavers are her extended family, as are her team mates on the GB squad. No one can be in any doubt that as well as the best in terms of medical care and rehabilitative care, Claudia will have the best care in terms of support and encouragement as she makes her journey back. Tokyo is the big picture here, and she has time.
I have absolutely no doubt that Claudia will be back, that she will approach her rehab with all the fire and determination that has seen her become a world class gymnast. Elite gymnastics is unimaginably tough, elite gymnasts are tougher. We’ll see you back out there when you’re ready Claudia, and in the mean time we will miss you.