Torn ACL limits Patterson at Olympics

By Greg Jayne, Columbian opinion editor

Published:

 

Trying her best while competing with a torn ACL in her left knee, Vancouver native Kara Patterson was unable to advance Tuesday in the women's javelin throw at the London Olympics.

Patterson, a 26-year-old graduate of Skyview High School who lives and trains in the San Diego area, had one legal throw in her three attempts during qualifying. Her mark of 184 feet, 6 inches, placed her 31st; the top 12 finishers move on to Thursday's final.

Patterson injured her knee July 1 while finishing second at the U.S. Olympic Trials. She had remained focused on her training for London, declining to publicly reveal the extent of her injury.

“I actually tore my ACL competing," she said Tuesday. "But I did my very best. I am so thankful to all of the medical people at the training center, especially Chris Garcia and my coach Ty (Sevin), and my lifting Coach Jamie, because they just believed in me so much to come here and try."

Patterson competed Tuesday with her knee wrapped in tape and supported by a brace. She told The Oregonian that she would have relinquished her spot on the team had another American reached the Olympic qualifying standard. None had.

"Since there wasn't anybody else, I couldn't not come here and try," she said. "This happens once every four years."

Patterson, the American record-holder, was one of three U.S. throwers in the field, and none of them qualified for the finals. Brittany Borman was 15th, while Rachel Yurkovich was 24th. Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic, the world record-holder, led qualifying with a distance of 217-2.

For Patterson, it was her fourth appearance at a major international competition. She has represented the United States at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, in addition to the 2009 and 2011 World Championships. She continues to chase her goal of qualifying for the 12-person final in a major event.

"I threw better than Beijing," Patterson said. "I think that is my second-best performance at a major championship, and on a torn ACL. I definitely could have made the finals still, but I guess I can’t be disappointed with that performance today."