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Mattie Larson's bad break (for real)

July 21, 2008 |  7:04 pm

Just got an email from Eric Larson, father of Mattie, the charismatic young Los Angeles gymnast who Mattie Larsonmade it to the final Olympic team training camp. That means Mattie, 16, was one of the final 12 eligible.

Mattie returned home today after competing in just one event -- uneven bars -- last Saturday, the final night of competition before the team was named. She did only one event because of a sore leg. Eric said that X-rays today showed a small fracture in the tibia, something she may have had since the final day of the Olympic trials last month. Eric said Mattie began experiencing pain in Philadelphia but was determined to finish the selection process.

According to Eric, "Four doctors read the results. A broken tibia (the bigger leg bone) just above her ankle. When asked when the pain started in that area, Mattie said since the last day of Olympic trials in Philly. Her doctors informed her that was when she broke it -- a month ago. She just couldn't go anymore on Saturday with the pain."

National team coordinator Martha Karolyi said Saturday night that she expected big things from Larson, who is in her first year as a senior elite competitor. "I think she needs to rest a little and get healthy, and she is going to be a very beautiful gymnast and a strong member of our team."

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Mattie Larson. Credit: Annie Wells / Los Angeles Times