Kara Winger’s road to another Olympic bid also includes another road to recovery.
Winger, a 2004 Skyview High graduate and American record holder in the women’s javelin, announced on social media she re-tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left knee at a track and field meet last weekend in Idaho.
The COVID-19 pandemic canceled many national and international track and field events since March. That, in part, is why the low-key Iron Wood Throws Center Invitational in Ruthdrum, Idaho, attracted a number of professional athletes, including Winger and Valarie Allman, who set the American record winning the women’s discus (230-2).
Winger won the women’s javelin in her 2020 season opener at 211 feet, 5 inches. On her final throw, however, she said she felt the similar sensation as when she tore her ACL leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
“And I knew,” the Vancouver native said in an emotional video post on Instagram. “I just knew. … I can’t believe it because those people, especially anybody that has bought my warmups or watched my (Instagram) stories, knows how hard I work to prevent this injury in particular, because it is very difficult the first time around.”
Winger said she partially re-tore the ACL, but said because of the extent of the injury, “it’s no longer an effective ACL.” She said she’ll have reconstructive surgery as soon as possible with the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo still in mind.
“I think, as with anybody, my initial reaction was that it was too hard the first time — how am I going to get back?” she said. “But I would get it fixed anyway, so there’s absolutely no reason not to try.”
Winger placed fifth in the javelin at the 2019 World Championships last October in Doha, Qatar, and is aiming for her fourth Olympics. She told The Columbian in March because of the pandemic, she planned to retire after the 2022 World Championships.
The 2021 Olympic Trials are next June in Eugene, Oregon.
“It’s been incredibly helpful to tell people, to tell my loved ones and have that instant support,” she continued. “The kind of spectrum of reactions is good because I’ve had all of the ones that other people have had. And I just couldn’t be in a better place with as much experience as I have overcoming injury to do my best every day and see what that means long-term.
“I’m going to share the ups and downs, and see what happens.”