Gymnast Asuka Teramoto given second chance at storybook ending

Olympic postponement offers the Japanese gymnast hope of closing her career at home Olympics

Olympic postponement has given Japanese gymnast Asuka Teramoto another chance to bring her career full circle.

The 24-year-old team veteran tore her Achilles tendon on 6 February, seemingly all but ending her chance to compete at her country’s Olympic Games in Tokyo less than six months later.

It would have been a fitting end to a career that began on the international stage at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo.

“I have overcome a lot of big challenges to make my dream come true,” she wrote three days after surgery on her Instagram, admitting that the thought of retirement without participating in the Tokyo Olympics had brought her to tears.

“Never give up until the end,” she added.

But now, with Tokyo 2020 postponed 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic, Teramoto has another chance at ending her career in style, and at home.

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ニュースで知った方も多いと思いますが、しっかりと自分の言葉で今の状態、心境をうちあけます。 2020年2月6日、味の素ナショナルトレーニングセンターでナショナル合宿中、床の蹴りで左足のアキレス腱断裂しました。2月7日に即効、手術してもらいました。 なんの予兆もなく不意の出来事でした。切った瞬間、あー体操人生楽しかったな、もう頑張らなくていいんだって思いました。目の前にあった東京五輪の光が全く見えなくなり、現実をのみこんで諦めないと自分がおかしくなりそうでした。「もう無理です」ずっと繰り返し言ってました。「引退」その時はそれしか私の頭の中にはありませんでした。でも、周りは違った。私が引退への道に進もうとしたその線路を変えてくれました。いや、むしろ引退完全阻止w術後一日目からストレッチポールと倒立バーを差し入れで持ってきてくれて、逆算したトレーニングメニューを作ってくれる、、なんと恐ろしき鬼コーチ達❤もう笑顔になっちゃいますね~🤣笑。私の気持ちはいとも簡単にそっちに切り替わりました(笑)だから、、、私、本当は諦めずに最後まで体操やりたいんだなって分かった。なにより、皆が待っててくれてた、私より諦めてない周りの方々に胸がいっぱいになりました。 全日本やNHK杯、初戦だったドイツW杯や東京W杯は出場はできません。東京五輪も出れるか分かりません。切った瞬間は絶対引退しようと思った。でも今は誰がなんと言おうと最後まで諦めずに自分の体操人生を貫き通そうと思ってます。そして最後の大きな壁に立ち向かっていきます。あたたかく見守っていただければ幸いです。たくさんのメッセージありがとうございました。自分のペースで自分なりにコツコツと頑張ります。 ミキハウス/レジックスポーツ 寺本明日香 ・ ・ ・ ・ I tore of the left Achilles tendon training of FX on Feb 6th.And I had surgery on 7th. I cannot believe and too shocked....I thought that "finish my gymnast life",''Retire gymnast" and "Impossible Tokyo OLY" when tears. But everyone told me "Its still too early for you to give up!".So,my feeling have changed "I will not give up till the end." I probably cannot have competition 🇩🇪🇯🇵World Cup,All Japan and NHK Cup. Tokyo OLY also....But I have to overcome a lot of big challenges to make my dream come true.Never Give Up till the end. I wanna tell everyone my feelings on my own. Thank you for reading my poor English🙇‍♂️

A post shared by 寺本明日香 TERAMOTO Asuka,OLY (@teramoto_asuka) on

Teramoto is just over two months removed from surgery to repair her injury and keeping her fans up-to-date with her progress.

"It’s been two months since the operation,” she wrote in an 7 April post. “At one point, I thought there was no way I could get my heels off the ground, but now I can do calf raises! Everyday, when you just try to be better than yourself from the previous day, the work pays off. I have so much more range of motion!”

That’s good news for the Japanese stalwart, who has been part of her country’s efforts at seven straight World Championships and the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games. She’s helped lift the Japanese to new heights, including their historic fourth place finish in the women’s team final in Rio. Those Games also saw her best-ever finish in the all-around at either Worlds or Olympics as she finished in eighth position.

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術後2ヶ月です。✌️ 踵があがる気のしなかったカーフレイズがちゃんとできるようになってきたかなってとこです!! 毎日の「昨日より良い」が積み重なると、知らないうちに可動域も広がっていました! 3月下旬頃に綺麗に咲いていた桜も、だんだん緑がかかってきて、気づいたら綺麗な緑になっている、、みたいな感じで、気づいたら走れたりジャンプできたりしてるといいなー、、まだまだだけど。 毎日やれるリハビリを焦らずコツコツと💪 2 months after surgery. I became able to standing calf raise. But still hurt..😖It stiiiiiiil haven't healed. One step💪One step💪

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She was an important part of the Japanese squad that qualified a full team to the Tokyo Games at the 2019 World Championships, having been one of two Japanese women to compete on all four apparatus.

“We did it!!” she posted via Instagram from Stuttgart. “Team Japan qualifies for Tokyo Olympics.”

That joy echoed in her recent post announcing her rehabilitation progress.

"It’s kind of like the cherry blossoms that were in full bloom in late March but before anyone notices, they are a beautiful green. I still have a long way to go but I hope I’ll be running and jumping again before I realize,” she said. “I need to take it one day at a time and do my rehab."

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