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Kieran Behan dislocated his knee on first tumble of routine, carried on and finished anyway

The Irish athlete will now not compete in a gymnastics final.

Kieran Behan pictured competing in Rio on Saturday night.
Kieran Behan pictured competing in Rio on Saturday night.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Sinéad O’Carroll and Niall Kelly report from Rio de Janeiro 

Updated 2am

AS HE STEPPED up to the floor – the final (and his favourite) apparatus of the men’s gymnastics qualifying event in Rio – Kieran Behan had his sights on an artistic final after a solid go-around the podium.

But on his first tumble during the routine, he felt his knee ‘pop out’.

The 27-year-old Irish gymnast had a decision to make. He carried on despite the dislocation, finishing the routine to an oblivious audience.

“I nearly stopped after the first move but, I just thought, go for it and, yeah, then I could feel it completely go after my dismount,” he told The42 immediately after the event.

Just as soon as my feet touched the ground on that first tumble and the knee went, I just knew that it was about survival and just getting through the rest of the routine.

The second he landed his final tumble, Behan was visibly struggling. He limped off the floor with his coach coming to his aid.

“By the time I’d landed the tumble – my dismount – the adrenaline started to wear off. I was like, ‘Oooo, yes this is weird’,” he recalled.

kieran Source: via Alex James

The London resident is now due to get an MRI scan and, as he says, ‘hopefully get the knee put back in soon’.

“[We'll] see what the results of the scan are and we’ll take it from there,” he adds with his ever-present optimism.

Behan’s path to becoming a two-time Olympian is one not well-travelled. An operation-gone-wrong when he was 10 years old had him wheelchair-bound with a diagnosis of never walking again. He battled through with gymnastics as a motivator, pushing the boundaries until the doctors were proved wrong.

Later, a high-bar accident that left him hospitalised with a traumatic brain injury and severe damage to the vestibular canal of his inner ear.

And en route to London 2012, there were more injuries. And over the past four years. He called Rio his redemption.

“It’s just five pieces were good and then there comes the story of my life – there’s the bad luck,” he said today, with emotion.

Behan now misses out on a place in the final after finishing 38th in the qualification round.

Those encouraging scores on the first five apparatus weren’t enough to cancel out what happened on the floor after that horrific injury, so Behan’s overall tally of 83.232 was not quite good enough for a place in top 24.

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