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Olympic Champion, World Record Holder Injured in Celebrity Rugby Match

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Olympic 400 meter champion and world record holder Wayde Van Niekerk. Photo: Sky Sports

Wayde van Niekerk, famously known for breaking Michael Johnson’s 400 meter world record at the 2016 Rio Olympics, may be forced to sit out his entire 2018 season. The reigning Olympic champion will miss next year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia after seriously injuring his knee during a celebrity touch rugby match.

He sustained medial and lateral tears of the meniscus and tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while playing rugby in Cape Town, South Africa. The 25-year old South African will face six months of rehabilitation. Many track and field fans are hoping Van Niekerk successfully recovers to his full strength, especially since Usain Bolt retired last year at the world championships in London.

Many people across the world look at Van Niekerk as Bolt’s successor and the most likely candidate to ‘carry’ the sport of track and field in Bolt’s absence. Obviously his coach, Ans Both is not happy about how the injury happened. Botha, who is 75 years old, led Van Niekerk to an Olympic title, world championship titles, and an outstanding world record performance at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

We wish Wayde a full, healthy, and successful recovery.

Watch Wayde van Niekerk break the 400 meter world record at the 2016 Olympic Games

By Dr. Brandon Spradley

Dr. Spradley is the Director of Sports Management at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at bspradley@ussa.edu.

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