Yao Jinnan, who earned her first World Championships gold medal with her uneven bars title in 2014, is reportedly dealing with an injury that will keep her out of the sport for the next year.
According to QQ Sports, Yao will go to the United States for surgery after an old shoulder injury began causing so much pain, Yao was unable to make it through training without crying.
After trying acupuncture, cortisone shots, and Chinese suction cups, she and coach Wang Qunce decided surgery would be her only option if she wanted to be healthy for the Olympic Games in 2016.
Members of the Chinese national team administration have spoken to specialists in the United States, who have advised that the procedure will take about two weeks followed by six weeks of recovery. Though she could conceivably be healthy in time for the 2015 World Championships, she and her coach don’t want to push it, choosing to take the year off as Rio is the ultimate goal.
“Right now, an Olympic medal is the only medal I lack,” Yao told the press. “As long as I am in good condition next year, I will be able to challenge for Rio.”
Unfortunately, Yao is being held back by red tape and visa issues, according to coach Wang, who took to Weibo to thank fans for their support.
“We thought the process of Yao going overseas for surgery would be simple,” Wang said. “But after two months of trying to get approval, we are still anxiously waiting.”
Yao is currently one of the best gymnasts on China’s national team and if fully healthy, should be a top contender in 2016. After winning gold on bars and leading her team to a second place finish in 2014, her portrait was finally added to the wall of champions at the national training center, and she is currently up for a CCTV Sports Personality “Best Female Athlete” award, with the winner to be named February 1.
We wish Yao the best of luck with her surgery and recovery! The Chinese team truly won’t be the same without her.
Article by Lauren Hopkins