Despite a foot injury she suffered in podium training at the European championships in Brussels earlier this month, Czech gymnast Kristyna Palesova told IG she is stepping confidently towards her second Olympic performance at this simmer's Games in London.
Kristyna Palesova (Czech Republic)
"It was kind of bad luck for me, because I felt very good and I was in good shape," said Palesova, the lone Czech female artistic gymnast who will compete in London. "My whole podium training went well on each event. It happened on my last apparatus, beam, during the last minute of my podium training I did a forward salto and landed on my toe with my foot. At first I didn't feel anything that bad, so I was just like, 'OK, maybe my toe will be a little bit painful but let's continue the routine.' Then, when I went for my dismount, I took one step and it started to bleed."
Palesova said she was upset when doctors told her she needed four stitches and that competing would be dangerous. She even considered competing on uneven bars only, but common sense prevailed.
“On the day of qualifications I could barely walk on it, so it was just impossible to compete," she said. "I realized that being ready for London is much more important for me, so I didn't want to risk anything. When I came back to the Czech Republic, I realized there was nothing more to it, and that it should probably have happened to me. I mean, everything happens for a reason. So I tried to start thinking about the positive sides of this injury."
Palesova, who trains in Brno under coach Katerina Janeckova, said knowing that her injury was not serious helped her begin her recovery with confidence.
"I know it would take about two weeks, so in the second week I was doing a lot of strengthening and stretching, and some basics on bars," she said. "I was also resting a little bit, mentally and physically. I knew that it could maybe help me even more to come back rested and stronger."
Palesova said the careful but steady pace of her recovery process should benefit her in the final approach to the London Olympics.
"At the beginning of (last) week I started to also do the other events," she said. "For the first few days it was a little bit hard and still painful, but it was better and better day by day. Now I am doing everything again the same like before Europeans, so I am really happy that I didn't lose too much of my physical preparation, and it took me just a few days to get back into full training."
Palesova said she is eager for good performances the upcoming Czech championships and the FIG Challenger Cup in Ghent.
"I am really excited to be already back in full training, and I am looking forward to working hard before London," she told IG. "Hopefully I will be OK and there won't be anything more to impede me in this hard work."
Read "Rebuilding Phase," a profile on Palesova, in the June 2011 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To order back issues, click here.