'That is courage': World erupts over inspirational Olympics moment

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Katarina Johnson-Thompson, pictured here refusing help to finish the 200m.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson refused help and finished the 200m. Image: Getty

Katarina Johnson-Thompson perfectly illustrated the Olympic spirit on Wednesday night when she refused to quit the decathlon despite suffering a nasty calf injury.

The heptathlon world champion's Olympic bid ended abruptly when she collapsed to the track during the 200 metres event.

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The British star had already suffered an Achilles injury in recent months and came into the Games under a huge cloud.

Johnson-Thompson won her hurdles heat and cleared 1.86 metres in the high jump to put herself in medal contention.

But it all came to an end in devastating fashion when she pulled up lame in the 200m, crumpling to the ground in agony.

But in inspirational scenes that captivated fans, Johnson-Thompson refused a wheelchair being offered by volunteers and insisted on finishing.

She limped her way down the final straight and across the finish line despite the horrible injury.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson, pictured here finishing the 200m despite injuring her calf at the Olympics.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson finished the 200m despite injuring her calf. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Johnson-Thompson was later disqualified because she fell into an adjacent lane, however she had to withdraw from the rest of the decathlon anyway.

"Unfortunately Katarina Johnson-Thompson sustained an injury to her right calf during the 200m and has had to withdraw from the heptathlon," British Athletics said in a statement. 

"To confirm, it is not a repeat of her recent Achilles injury which was on her left leg."

Fans and commentators were full of praise for the gutsy display.

Anouk Vetter jumps put to early decathlon lead

Anouk Vetter of the Netherlands led through the first day of competition, with Belgium's Noor Vidts second in the standings and her compatriot - defending Olympic champion Nafissatou Thiam - in third.

"It was very hot this morning, and it was very difficult for me," said Thiam, who added that a nail on her foot was hurting her during the competition.

"I wasn't feeling well at the beginning. I was better during the high jump because it was later in the day.

"I tried to put something in my shoe because each time I jumped it hurt, but it wasn't enough for me. 

"That's why I wasn't feeling well. I was expecting better but I don't have any regrets for today."

Vetter said she was "shocked" to discover she was at the top of the leaderboard despite producing a clean performance without any major errors.

"With long jump coming up, I feel like there’s a bit more tension because there are others out there who are able to collect more points than me," she said.

The heptathlon resumed on Thursday, starting with the long jump.

with Reuters

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