Javier Gomez of Spain, the 2012 Olympic Triathlon silver medalist and 5-time ITU World Champion, broke his left elbow in a low-speed cycling crash and announced he will withdraw from the Rio Olympics.
Gomez, 33, wrote on Facebook that scans revealed a fracture of his left elbow and he will undergo surgery today.
“I'm really sorry to let you all know that yesterday, when I was just about to finish my bike training, I had one of those silly crashes, no faster than 15km/h,” Gomez stated.
“Immediately I felt pain in my elbow so we went to the hospital. Scans have confirmed a displaced fracture in the radial head of my left arm. Going into surgery today to fix it.”
Gomez stated that there was no hope of recovery in time to compete in the August 18 men’s Olympic competition.
“Unfortunately this has forced me to pull out of competing in Rio,” wrote Gomez. “I need to be realistic, there is no time to prepare and to be fit on the start line of the Games. The most sensible thing is to open my spot and allow someone else the chance to race.”
Gomez, who fought injuries to finish 4th at the 2008 Olympic Triathlon and lost a hard-fought duel with gold medalist Alistair Brownlee of Great Britain before finishing with the Olympic silver medal at London, acknowledged in a note to his fans that this was a painful emotional blow.
“As you can imagine, this is a really tough time, it's a goal I have been working for over many years,” he wrote. “I will keep fighting, I still have many goals in this sport, I'm not done yet. Like many times I've tasted the sweetest face of sport, now I have to deal with the more bitter. Thank you with all of my heart.”
British Triathlon performance director Brendan Purcell, who is in charge of key Gomez rivals Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, told the BBC that this was “terrible news.”
“While Javier is perhaps the biggest threat and rival to Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee's prospects, his presence would also be an asset. Javier is such a talented athlete and you want the best athletes to be racing on the biggest stage of all.”
The two remaining members of the Spanish men’s Olympic Triathlon team are 2016 WTS rankings leader Fernando Alarza and number 2 ranked Mario Mola. With Gomez out, the likely replacement is Vicente Hernandez, who is ranked 11th.