Anna Li performs on the balance beam during the U.S. Olympic gymnastics… (Gregory Bull / Associated…)
LONDON -- Anna Li, who was one of the three replacement athletes in England for the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, will be in London supporting the U.S. squad despite suffering a neck injury earlier in the week that has put her in a cervical collar and taken her out of the replacement pool.
According to a USA Gymnastics spokesperson, Li made the decision to stay in London and watch the competition rather than returning home immediately for further medical care.
The women begin team and individual qualifications Sunday.
Li, who was training as a replacement athlete in Birmingham, England, had fallen earlier in the week as she finished training a routine on the uneven bars, her specialty.
"Things could have been a lot worse," Li said Friday. "I'm lucky because I wanted to finish out this entire journey and I wanted to still be part of the team."
Li, 23, who is from Aurora, Ill., and competed at UCLA, said she had never suffered an accident similar to the one that happened here. "It was a complete accident," she said. "I was doing a dismount at the end of training. I finished my routine and was just taking an extra turn and peeled off. It happened so fast and I was in a lot of pain. But even when I was in so much pain I was kicking my legs and thinking, 'OK, still moving.' So that was a relief."
Elizabeth Price of Allentown, Penn., and Sarah Finnegan of St. Louis remain as replacement athletes. The U.S. team already revealed on Thursday that McKayla Maroney of Long Beach had re-injured a toe she originally broke over two months ago. Maroney, 16, is the defending world vault champion and will likely compete only in the vault when the U.S. women begin competition Sunday.
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