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Shun Fujimoto - a pioneer in taking one for the team (photo attached)

Shun Fujimoto - a pioneer in taking one for the team (photo attached)

Montreal, 1976

After severely breaking his knee during the floor exercise, Japan's Shun Fujimoto ignored his injury as long as possible, knowing such news could shatter the confidence of his teammates.

The injured gymnast continued on to the pommel horse routine, miraculously scoring a 9.5 out of 10. He then faced the rings, which would be his final event of the day. Shun performed extraordinarily, ignoring the inevitable consequences of dismounting from eight feet off the ground. Upon completion of his routine, he hurled himself into a beautifully executed triple-somersault dismount.

When his feet hit the floor, the pain sliced through him like a knife, but he kept his balance. Gritting his teeth, he raised his arms in a perfect finish before collapsing in agony. He was awarded a 9.7, the highest score he had ever recorded on the rings.

After winning the closest gymnastics team competition in Olympic history, Shun joined his team at the podium to receive his gold medal, and he did it without assistance.

(Credit: IOC)

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