Shun Fujimoto

Shun Fujimoto proved that the pain barrier can be overcome in the pursuit of glory and success. The Japanese gymnast was the strongest competitor for his nation in the 1976 Olympics, as the Asian country looked to oust favourites Soviet Union to the gold medal. In the third last event it became clear that Fujimoto had fractured his kneecap, which would rule him out of the remaining two events. Fujimoto had other ideas. Going against medical advice and the concern of his team-mates and coach, Fujimoto completed the last two events. The finale was a triple somersault from eight feet in the air from the rings, which he landed perfectly before falling in agony. Fujimoto received a personal best 9.7 out of 10 for the event and Japan won the team gold by 0.4 of a point. It was later revealed that Fujimoto had originally broken the kneecap, then dislocated it when dismounting the rings, and torn ligaments in his leg. Doctors were baffled at how he could compete without succumbing to pain, and that he rejected assistance onto the podium to receive his gold medal.

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