French gymnast Samir Ait Said broke his leg in a horrific vault landing while competing with the French Olympics team during Saturday’s preliminaries. The snap of his left leg rang throughout the Rio Olympic Arena but TIME reports fans cheered to support Ait Said when the emergency medical staff carried him away on a stretcher. The male gymnastics team was vying for one of eight spots in the Summer Olympics but the injury, caught on video, was enough to shake viewers and fellow teammates. Danny Pinheiro Rodrigues, who was next in line from the French squad, decided to forego his chance at the vault.
WARNING: Video in tweet contains graphic images.
The Snap That Echoed Through The Arena
After sustaining the break in his leg, Ait Said laid motionless at his landing spot, hiding his face under his hand while he tried to cope with the pain. The Olympic medical team quickly moved to his side and treated his leg before he was strapped to a stretcher. As he was taken from the building, he was given a standing ovation. The Olympian showed his respect by raising a hand to acknowledge his supporters.
The U.S. gymnastics team was competing in high bars when they heard the audience react, but made sure to keep their attention on the task at hand. Sam Mikulak told TIME he was approaching the bars when the trainers rushed to Said.
“I was actually just about to go and I heard a bunch of ‘ooohs’ and I kind of made sure I stayed focused on the routine I was just about to do. It’s always a shame when there’s an injury in this sport. Especially when you’re here at the Olympic Games, to go down like that — it’s a horrible, horrible thing but you have to stay focused, get in the zone and do the gymnastics you came out here to do.”
Another U.S. Olympic gymnast, Chris Brooks, was also preparing for his go at the high bar, a part of the third rotation, when he noticed the events with Ait Said. According to the L.A. Times, Brooks stated, “I saw him come off the table a little bit awkwardly and I kind of looked away from there. You just don’t want to see it.”
Samir Ait Said was one of the leading competitors on France’s gymnastic team. The 26-year-old was the 2013 gold medalist in still rings and with the third-highest score for 2016, he was likely proceeding to the finals. However, with the nature of his injury, many are questioning if he will ever return. NBC Olympics sportscaster Andrea Joyce stated he has suffered an open fracture to his left tibia.
The team leader for the French gymnastics team, Corrine Moustard-Callon, also confirmed Said broke his leg in a statement provided by the Mirror.
“He is in the hospital with a doctor now. We don’t know what happened, except that it was his tibia. We will do more exams to see if it just the bone. It is very difficult for the team. He was one of the friendliest on the team which is very difficult — he came to win a medal and gave everything 200 percent.”
In spite of the events, the U.S. team landed first place within their subdivision, beating out Japan; although they have yet to face the Chinese and Russian teams, the U.S. gymnastics squad is well positioned to be a part of final eight on Monday.
Want to keep an eye on the French and U.S. teams after the unfortunate break for Samir Ait Said? Stay tuned to NBC Olympics and watch more than 10,000 athletes from over 200 countries compete in the 2016 Olympic Games. The Olympic events will continue from August 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
[Photo via Scott Halleran/Getty Images]