European all-around champion Asia D’Amato out with injury until 2023

Plus, Lorette Charpy announces ACL injury, new leadership at British Gymnastics from September 2022, and a look back at the 2004 Olympic men's high bar final

By Scott Bregman. Created: 2 September 2022
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

Days after Italian gymnast Asia D’Amato became the first woman from her country to win the European women’s gymnastics all-around crown since 2007, she suffered an injury during the vault final.

After executing an easy double-twisting Yurchenko in her first vault, D’Amato appeared to land slightly short on a Yurchenko half-on, layout front half off. She stumbled forward, grabbed her heal and went down on the mat.

That injury, says Italian head coach Enrico Casella, will keep the 2020 Olympian out of competition the remainder of the season.

“Asia will return to competitions in 2023. For the World Championships in Liverpool, we will have to do without her, but this will give us the opportunity to test other athletes who will have to be ready, even if replacing the European all-around champion will not be easy,” Casella told International Gymnastics magazine.

The Italian squad, with D’Amato, was expected to challenge the Americans, Chinese and Brazilians for gold in Liverpool, but the injury to the 19-year-old will certainly hamper her team’s hopes of winning what would be a historic team gold medal.

“It will take some time but I promise you that I will do my best to come back as soon as possible and above all, even stronger,” D’Amato wrote on Instagram.

Lorette Charpy announces second ACL tear in less than two years

Weeks after winning bronze on the uneven bars at the 2022 European Championships in Munich, French gymnast Lorette Charpy announced that she has torn her ACL. The injury comes some 17 months after a first ACL tear kept her from contending for a spot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, held in 2021.

“These are not the words I wanted to tell you tonight, and it was hard to hide it from you,” she wrote on Instagram. “For the second time, I’ve torn my ACL. Tough times, history repeats itself… I feel empty, emotionless.”

Charpy had made a return to competition earlier this year, competing at the World Cup in Baku and the Mediterranean Games though she had to withdraw from latter with injury.

At the Europeans last month, after landing her uneven bars dismount in the final, she collapsed to the ground. In interviews afterward, she walked without crutches but did not want to discuss her knee.

“After the dismount, I think my knee was so relaxed. It was so scary,” she said in an interview with GymCastic. “Now, I just want to think about the medal.”

Tracy Whittaker-Smith named new British Gymnastics Performance Director

Long-time British trampoline national coach Tracy Whittaker-Smith will take on a new leadership position, British Gymnastics announced Thursday (1 September).

Whittaker-Smith, who will continue in her role as Team GB's head trampoline coach, will now also serve as the federation's Performance Director for Olympic disciplines.

The role is part of wider changes British Gymnastics is making to priortise athlete well-being. The organisation said Whittaker-Smith's role will focus on "leadership of the Olympic Disciplines over the next two years, giving oversight and support to the Head National Coaches," while a second Performance Director, tasked with Cultural Change and Athlete Welfare will be added shortly.

“As a life-long champion of the power of sport to impact communities, change lives and inspire generations, I am looking forward to bringing my extensive experience, values, ethics and strategy to this role," said Whittaker-Smith. "It is an exciting time to be working with British Gymnastics and I relish the opportunity to support athletes, coaches and support staff on the mission to Paris 2024, and to accelerate the journey of reform to bring even more positive impact across the gymnastics community.”

From the vault…

This week, we take a look back at the men’s horizontal bar final from the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Italy’s Igor Cassina and American Paul Hamm tied for the final’s high score at 9.812 with Cassina winning the tie break and gold medal. Japan’s Yoneda Isao took the bronze medal.

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