Remember Samir Ait Said? If the name doesn’t ring a bell then perhaps you will remember the last time you saw him: His left leg below the knee was dangling like a construction crane snapped during Hurricane Irma.
That injury at the Rio Olympics, as gruesome as it was, was not a career-ender for Said. This past weekend, just over a year after snapping his tibia and fibula, Said returned to major competition at the Paris Challenge Cup, the final competitive tune-up before next month’s world championships in Montreal.
Said only competed on his specialty—the rings. The crowd hung with him for every single strength move but erupted when he stuck his dismount on the surgically repaired leg onto the mat, because he didn’t receive special dispensation to land on top of a dozen feather beds or to have birds carry him to the ground to protect his leg from impact.
Said ended up placing second, just a couple of tenths behind Eleftherios Petrounias of Greece. Not too shabby when you consider the fact Petrounias is the reigning world and Olympic champion on the rings and his leg has never almost snapped off.
Next stop for Said: Montreal, where he looks like he has a real shot at a rings medal.