Neck injury sidelines Aurora gymnast Li at Olympics
LONDON -- It appears the Olympic journey for U.S. women's gymnastics team alternate Anna Li, the 23-year-old uneven bars specialist from Aurora, ended before the 2012 London Games officials began.
Li was held out of training on Thursday following a fall during her uneven bars routine earlier in the week, and according to a report by USA Today she tore a ligament in her neck and "as a result, she is no longer training as a replacement athlete," USA Gymnastics said in a statement. She has been advised to wear a cervical collar as a precaution.
According to a later report by Lauren Jiggetts of NBC 5, Li was told she would not be able to compete, and USA officials suggested she return to Chicago to get immediate treatment. USA gymnastics president Steve Penny said he talked with Li. "She's heartbroken," Penny said, "she's disappointed."
Li told Jiggetts she wanted to travel to London to cheer on her teammates, and she also sent out this tweet: "Thank u everyone for the get well wishes!"
USA Gymnastics officials earlier said Li was treated and released at a hospital, and there were mixed reports about her condition. Li was training in Birmingham -- about two hours northwest of London -- with the two other alternates (Sara Finnegan of St. Louis and Elizabeth Price of Coopersburg, Pa.), when she fell.
The women's team competition begins Sunday, with teams required to set their rosters by Saturday. Another alternate can be added to the roster by the deadline.
Li's parents, who operate Legacy Elite Gymnastics, a training center in Carol Stream, competed in the 1984 Olympics for China. Li, the oldest and tallest (5-foot-4) member of the USA women's team, was an standouts gymnast at UCLA who battled back from foot injuries earlier in her career to make the USA squad.
• Associated Press contributed to this report. For the latest and most complete coverage of the Olympic Games from London, visit summergames.ap.org/dailyherald