Genevieve Gregson spent the final hours of her birthday in hospital after a disastrous fall in the final stages of the 3,000m steeplechase at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Australian athlete, who turned 32 on Wednesday, was unable to complete the race after she ruptured her Achilles tendon in a horrifying tumble at the last water jump on the final lap.
She laid on the track in agonising pain and looked distraught as medics assisted her into a wheelchair before she was wheeled from the arena and rushed to hospital.
Several hours later, Gregson shared a photo from her hospital bed still wearing her track uniform with a support brace on her leg and a brave smile.
A heartbroken Genevieve Gregson (pictured) spent the night in hospital after rupturing her Achilles tendon
Genevieve Gregson was competing in the final stages of 3000m steeplechase final when she took a horrific tumble at the last water jump
‘I’m heartbroken and don’t have the words right now to respond to you all but in short – ruptured Achilles on the last water jump,’ she posted on Instagram.
‘Happy Birthday me! Thank you for all the support and lovely messages. I’ll try to respond in time. For now I need to mend my heart, soul and Achilles.’
The post were flooded with messages from well-wishers.
‘Thinking of you Gen. You’re a superstar and my heart aches seeing this. Wishing you the quickest and fullest recovery,’ Australian track teammate and 400m runner Steve Solomon commented.
Surfer Sally Fiztgibbons added: ‘You are a Wonder Woman… so proud of you Gen. best healing energies.’
Unable to get back on her feet, Genevieve Gregson (pictured)left the track in a wheelchair
Australia’s Genevieve Gregson lays on the track after getting injured during the women’s 3000m steeplechase final
Gregson now faces a lengthy stint on the sidelines with a very serious injury that runners often never fully recover from.
Channel Seven commentators Bruce McAveney and Tasmyn Manou were confused as to why Gregson hadn’t crossed the finish line before seeing the fall on a replay.
They were also unaware at the time of the serious extent of Gregson’s injury.
‘I feel like she’s cramping. I think she’s hurt her calf or something,’ Lewis said
‘I wanting to know. She is OK. She’s getting into a wheelchair. But I think she’s hurt her calf. She’s up and about. She is speaking to the medical team but she’s hurt the lower leg.’
Gregson later updated Manou with the bad news via text message.
Steeplechase star Genevieve Gregson (pictured) could only watch on in agony as the rest of the field ran past her
She laid on the track in agonising pain and looked distraught as medics assisted her into a wheelchair before she was wheeled from the arena and rushed to hospital
‘She’s ruptured her Achilles, which is just a shocking injury. It is a long rehab,’ she said on Thursday.
‘Unfortunately, she has had Achilles issues in the past. This was her good Achilles.’
The three-time Olympian is the wife of fellow Australian athlete of Ryan Gregson, who watched the horror fall unfold on television in Europe.
Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai won the women’s steeplechase ahead of Courtney Frerichs from the US and Kenya’s Hyvin Kiyeng.
Seven years earlier, Gregson celebrated her 25th birthday by joining Australian pop icon Kylie Minogue on stage while performing 2014 at the 2014 Commonwealth Games closing ceremony.
The three time Olympian is the wife of fellow Australian athlete of Ryan Gregson (pictured)