Rio Olympics 2016: Jacko Gill defies broken foot

Olympic athlete portrait. New Zealand shot put Jacko Gill. Photograph by Brett Phibbs
Olympic athlete portrait. New Zealand shot put Jacko Gill. Photograph by Brett Phibbs

A broken right foot is hampering Kiwi shot putter Jacko Gill's Olympic preparations.

Three weeks ago the 21-year-old suffered what's known as a "Jones fracture" in the junction of the little toe. He was told his maiden Olympics were "100% over".

Gill stuck with the team and recently delivered a series of personal best lifts. However, throwing has been difficult.

"The pivot in the middle causes a fair amount of discomfort. There was also some ligament or tendon damage around the ankle [didn't want to know what it was] and that's been causing more pain," he wrote on an Instagram post.

"A few weeks ago we did not know if it was physically possible to pivot in time for the Olympics. [But] I'd go through the pain I've gone through these last three weeks 100 times over to represent my country at the Olympics."

Yesterday, Gill heaved his first throw over 20m since the injury. His 20.83m best was set at Christchurch in February.

Gill's father Walter said the injury was a stress fracture which had "blown up like a balloon".

"He hobbled back from training to his room and was worried about getting through the local traffic.

"He'll need painkillers to compete and has altered his technique to better handle the pain."

Gill has been a world record and world titleholder through the age group ranks, but dominating the senior men's field is proving more difficult.

Gill prides himself on explosive lifts, such as flinging medicine balls or hammering a sledgehammer into tyres. He recently leapt a height of seven standard concrete steps in one bound.​

Was going to wait until after the Olympics to post this, but really proud of my progress. Unfortunately 3 weeks ago I broke my foot (jones fracture). Was basically told my Olympics were 100% over. Was given 2 options, both meant getting on a plane back to New Zealand and missing the Olympics. But managed to stay on at our Olympic pre camp and made the decision to fight this!!! These last 3 weeks I have Trained 3 times harder than I ever have. 2 days after these x-Ray's I attempted my P.B in the Squats, and have managed to get every testable Personal Best in the last 2 weeks in the Weights room (and Standing Throws). Throwing has been very difficult, as the pivot in the middle causes a fair amount of discomfort. There was also some ligament or tendon damage around the ankle (didn't want to know what it was) and that's been causing more pain recently. Yesterday I had my first Throw over 20 Metres since the injury. Extremely proud as a few weeks ago we did not know if it was physically possible to pivot in time for the Olympics. After I will look at heading home to get it sorted, but have put in too much effort over this last year to just give up now. I'm truly honoured to represent my country, I'd go through the pain I've gone through these last 3 weeks 100 times over to represent my country at the Olympics again. good luck to everyone else Competing!

A video posted by Jacko Gill (@jackogill) on


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