Artistic Gymnastics

Gymnast Asuka Teramoto given second chance at storybook ending

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

By Scott Bregman ·

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.

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.

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."