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Team GB star Katie Archibald set to miss Paris Olympics after tripping over garden step and breaking leg, ripping ligaments, and dislocating ankle in “cruel” fall

The double Olympic gold medallist had surgery on Wednesday to pin the bones in her leg back together and reattach the ligaments, and confirmed she will miss this summer’s Games

Double Olympic gold medallist Katie Archibald is set to miss this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris, after breaking two bones in her lower leg, ripping ligaments, and dislocating her ankle in a bizarre fall in her garden earlier this week.

In news that will leave a serious dent in the Great Britain track team’s medal hopes for Paris, Archibald – an Olympic champion in the team pursuit and Madison, and who won a rainbow jersey as part of GB’s team pursuit squad at last year’s world championships in Glasgow – confirmed in an Instagram post that she underwent surgery on Wednesday for a string of injuries, suffered after tripping over a garden step on Tuesday.

“I tripped over a step in the garden and managed to, somehow, dislocate my ankle, break my tibia and fibula, and rip two ligaments off the bone. What the heck,” the 30-year-old Scottish track cycling star wrote on Thursday afternoon.

“That was on Tuesday, and since then I’ve been in full princess mode (assuming it took a full team of A&E doctors and nurses to get Cinderella’s foot back in line with the slipper).

“Had surgery yesterday to pin the bones back together and reattach the ligaments. Then hopefully this afternoon I’ll be going home (wearing a more high-tech boot than the one in my hot dogs pic).

Katie Archibald breaks leg in garden fall (Katie Archibald, Instagram)

“A hundred thank yous for the fabulous doctors, nurses, radiographers, porters, physios, surgeons, and more at the Manchester Royal Infirmary.”

Confirming that the injuries will, unsurprisingly, rule her out of competing at the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines Velodrome in August and aiming for a third Olympic gold, the five-time world champion said: “A hundred apologies for what this means for the Olympic team, which I’ve been told won’t involve me.

“I’m still processing that bit of news, but thought I better confirm it publicly instead of leaving it to the grapevine (trip hazard and all that).

“Might be back with more updates, might be gone from the socials for a bit – TBC. Ciao for now.”

Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald in the Madison at Tokyo 2020 (Copyright Alex Broadway, SWpix.com).JPG

Archibald and Laura Kenny on their way to Olympic gold in the Madison in Tokyo (Alex Broadway/SWpix.com)

Following the announcement, British Cycling said it shared Archibald’s “heartbreak” in being forced to miss track cycling’s marquee event.

“Earlier this week, Katie Archibald had an accident at home which has resulted in a broken ankle which she has since had surgery on. Following medical advice, this unfortunately means that Katie will be unable to compete at the upcoming Olympic Games,” the national governing body said on social media.

“We share in Katie’s heartbreak over her injury, and the cruel manner in which she has been denied the chance to ride for the medals she so coveted in Paris.

“Our focus is now on providing Katie with the best possible support as she begins her recovery, and we know that the whole cycling community will be right behind her for every step.”

Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald win Madison gold in Tokyo (Copyright Alex Broadway, SWpix.com).JPG

(Alex Broadway/SWpix.com)

Archibald’s absence from the Paris Games brings an abrupt and painful end to what has been a difficult few years, in more ways than one, for the popular track star, who won gold in the Madison with Laura Kenny and silver in the team pursuit at the last Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021.

In June 2022, Archibald injured both her ankles after “flying over the bonnet of a 4x4” when its driver pulled out of a junction and struck her during a training ride in East Dunbartonshire, just two months after she broke her collarbone in a crash at the Glasgow round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup.

> SUV driver pulls out of junction and crashes into Olympic champion Katie Archibald

A month later, the double Olympic champion’s partner, Rab Wardell, passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest while in bed, with Archibald later revealing she desperately tried to save the 37-year-old’s life.

Wardell passed away just 48 hours after he had won the Scottish MTB XC Championship, prompting an outpouring of tributes and condolences from the cycling world.

In an emotional social media post, Archibald said at the time that she didn’t “understand what's happened; if this is real; why he'd be taken now – so healthy and happy.”

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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Cayo | 4 weeks ago
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My heart goes out to Katie - she has had some horrible experiences over the past year. One thing's for sure though - as she always seems to do, she'll use this latest setback as motivation to come back strong yet again. And fortunately, age is likely more on her side than it tends to be for male cyclists. She still has a chance to be at the top in 4 years time. Wishing her a speedy recovery.

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