Kayla DiCello, contender to make U.S. Olympic gymnastics team, injured on first vault of trials

MINNEAPOLIS — Kayla DiCello, an alternate on the 2020 Olympic team, was taken off the floor in a wheelchair on the very first routine on day one of the U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials.

DiCello was the first competitor up on vault and intended to perform a double-twisting skill in a laid-out position but instead flipped over the vault table in a tuck position without twisting. She appeared to suffer the injury as she launched off the springboard.

DiCello, 20, sat down immediately on the mat in tears, and was carried off by medical staff before being wheeled out of the arena. NBC broadcasters said she had been dealing with Achilles soreness. Reigning Olympic all-around champion Suni Lee, who is sharing a room with DiCello while in Minneapolis for trials and was the second gymnast up on vault, was in tears after seeing her close friend’s injury.

A standout gymnast at the University of Florida, DiCello took a break from NCAA gymnastics this past season to focus solely on earning a ticket to Paris. She was an alternate on the team that took gold at the 2023 World Championships and earned an individual bronze medal in the all-around at 2021 worlds.  At U.S. Championships earlier this month, DiCello finished third in the all-around and second on floor exercise.

DiCello’s injury came a mere 15 minutes after Shilese Jones, a prohibitive favorite to make the team, had to be helped off with a knee injury during vault warmups. Jones was introduced at the start of the meet, but did not warm up again on vault, walking away from the warmup rotation and grabbing a sweatshirt.

Two days earlier, Skye Blakely, another strong contender to make the 5-women team, ruptured her Achilles during training. Blakely was on the competition floor on crutches Friday.

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(Photo: Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images)

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