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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.
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.
Respect to @TeamGB heptathlete @JohnsonThompson.
Her achilles, which she ruptured last year, failed her again after 80m of 200m event. She collapsed in agony on the track, but refused treatment & a wheelchair, and insisted on hobbling to the finish line.
THAT is courage. pic.twitter.com/KT5p7Udzil
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) August 4, 2021
— Peter Gillibrand (@GillibrandPeter) August 4, 2021
— Reginald Grant (@RegGrant2) August 4, 2021
Absolutely devestated for you Kat, but so much respect for you finishing and trying your heart out there despite carrying an injury.
Hold your head high, you'll be back, champs don't lie down 👊🏻👏🏻🇬🇧 #TEAMGB
— Aaron Homewood (@future_jonny) August 4, 2021
Couldn’t be prouder of you Kat. Get well soon xx
— Larry the Cat (@Number10cat) August 4, 2021
Huge respect to Kat for carrying on. Paris 2024 will be her time 🙏🙏🙏
— Rachel (@RachelMandM) August 4, 2021
Not just Olympic spirit, but general all round spirit in Life. Youngsters should take note of this moment which shows such resilience & determination to finish despite what happened.
— Denise (@DenisePallant) August 4, 2021
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.
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