Cypriot gymnast Marios Georgiou revealed he had to fight through the pain barrier from a serious shoulder injury to bring home the gold in the men’s horizontal bar at the European Championships in Munich.
Georgiou had pulled a muscle in his shoulder during the qualifying stage, with doctors advising him to withdraw as this sort of injury needed six weeks to heal.
He, however, decided to push through the pain in the final, eventually winning gold for Cyprus.
Georgiou told Phileleftheros daily that during the qualifying stage, he had to abandon his attempt just before completing the last exercise due to excruciating pain in his shoulder.
“I had already done the bar, the beam, and floor exercises.
“When I went in for the fourth instrument, the rings, I heard three cracks in my shoulder.
“The pain was unbearable. I got down and stayed on the floor for a while. I couldn’t even move my arm,” said Georgiou.
“The doctors told me that I had a third-degree contusion and that I should not compete.
“In such cases, it takes six weeks of rest without putting weight on it.”
But when he saw his score in the qualifiers for the horizontal bar, he was convinced that he could bring home a medal.
Georgiou decided to compete, despite doctors warning him that if his shoulder was further injured, it could cost him six months on the sidelines — missing out on the FIG World Cup Challenge in Paris next month and the World Gymnastics Championship to be held in Liverpool in October.
“Knowing that you are made of steel,” said Georgiou when asked what made him take the risk.
With the support of his coach, Panagiotis Petrides, he finally fought his way to the gold.
“I was anxious in the final, especially if the first two exercises.
“When the time came, I got on the beam, forgetting that I was in pain. Adrenaline kept me going.
“All odds were against me.
“Great is the satisfaction of victory when everything is against you. But, you also have to be a fighter in the championship.”
Georgiou earned a 14.400 for the title on the high-flying horizontal bar, while Lithuania’s Robert Tvorogal, silver, and Spain’s Joel Plata, bronze, rounded out the podium.
In a tweet, President Nicos Anastasiades described the victory as a “huge and historic success”, which is an honour for Cyprus.
Speaker of the House Annita Demetriou tweeted: “Cyprus is at the top of European sports” after Marios Georgiou’s historic success. “Thank you, Marios, for making us proud”.
The 24-year-old Cypriot gymnast recently competed in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, where he won four bronze medals.