John Orozco tore the ACL and meniscus in his left knee during training on Friday, knocking him out of the Rio Games, USA Gymnastics announced Friday. Danell Leyva will take his spot on the Olympic team.
The injury took place on a horizontal bar dismount during the team’s training camp in Colorado Springs. Orozco suffered the same injury to the same knee in October 2012.
Leyva, the 2012 Olympic all-around bronze medalist, won the horizontal bar silver medal at the 2015 World Championships, his fifth World medal. But he was named an alternate for the 2016 Olympic team after Trials last month.
It’s another devastating blow to Orozco, who’s had to deal with more than his fair share of trials in the past few years. His mother, Damaris, suffered from health problems including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. She died in February 2015.
Then, in June 2015, Orozco tore his right Achilles for a second time. A doctor told him he’d be out about one year, but Orozco cut that timetable in half and competed at Trials. He earned an Olympic berth on the strength of his best events, high bar and parallel bars.
“If you can hear me mom,” a tearful Orozco said afterward, “I love you.”
“It is always difficult to replace an Olympic team member,” said Kevin Mazeika, the national team coordinator for the U.S. Men’s National Team, in a release. “John’s injury is unfortunate and heartbreaking news, but he is handling the situation like the true professional and champion that he is. He’s fully supporting the team and its goals moving ahead.”