Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s Olympics ends in heartbreak after injury in 200m


The Team GB star and world champ had been nursing an Achilles injury (Pictures: Reuters)

Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s Olympics is over after the world champion pulled up in the 200m with an injury, limping over the line in heartbreaking scenes before being consoled by her fellow competitors.

The 28-year-old went to Tokyo targeting a medal in the heptathlon despite struggling with an Achilles injury ahead of the Games and made a promising start to the competition, sitting in fifth place after the first three events.

But she has not raced the 200m all year as it puts particular strain on the Achilles and after a blistering start to the race – which she was leading – she clearly felt something on the bend, pulling up and hitting the deck.

KJT struggled on after the injury and managed to finish (Picture: Reuters)

Johnson-Thompson, who has had disastrous luck with injuries in her career, lay on the track with her head in her hands for several moments but refused treatment from the Olympic medical team who came to assist her.

Instead, she rose to her feet and limped the final 100m of the race, crossing the line in clear pain before receiving hugs and support from the other heptathletes in her heat.

KJT looked devastated, having been in the hunt for a medal despite her injury woes, and opted not to give a post-race interview – though her decision to complete the 200m suggested she still harboured some faint hope of finishing the final three events.

Unfortunately, shortly after the race Johnson-Thompson was disqualified from the 200m for leaving her lane and British Athletics confirmed some time later that she had withdrawn from the competition.

Johnson-Thompson was consoled by her fellow heptathletes (Picture: AP)

However, rather than reaggravating the Achilles injury, KJT actually suffered an injury to her right calf – though four-time gold medallist and sprinting legend Michael Johnson felt they could have been related.

Speaking to BBC Sport afterwards, the American explained: ‘The fact that Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s Achilles has held up means she doesn’t have to have surgery.

‘There’s always going to be some compensation so it’s not uncommon to have problems somewhere else on the body.’

Reacting to the events, commentator and former Olympic silver medallist Steve Cram said: ‘It’s horrible because it was always a possibility and we weren’t going to know until she started competing.

‘She had to go for it, but I think we saw it first in the high jump and then this 200m, flat out, and it is so sad.’

KJT was later disqualified for leaving her lane (Picture: Getty Images)

Johnson-Thompson has been one of the biggest victims of the delay to the Tokyo Games, with former Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill devastated for her: ‘She had the best year of her life in 2019 and coming into an Olympic year she was in the best form she could be.

‘But 2020 ended up in injury, and for the years that she’s had in the sport, she’s had such blows.’

She continued: ‘[The 200m] was always going to put a huge amount of stress through [the Achilles] and I think actually when we cast our mind back to when she got injured, I was surprised that she got to this point.

‘So huge amount of credit to her to pull herself together to get the training done and to actually get to this point. It’s been such a difficult few months for her. I’m devastated to see it end like this but she’s still an inspirational athlete.’

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