Former Gophers gymnast Wiskus reveals he tore ligaments at NCAAs

·3 min read

ST. LOUIS – Shane Wiskus said there's nothing wrong with his head after taking three hard falls from the high bar at the U.S. championships. His right wrist, however, is another matter.

The former Gophers gymnast from Spring Park revealed Wednesday he tore two ligaments in the wrist at the NCAA championships in April. The injury got progressively worse, but a cortisone shot has him feeling "almost back to 100 percent" for the Olympic trials. The men's competition starts Thursday at The Dome at America's Center.

At the U.S. championships earlier this month, Wiskus completed his high bar routine despite the falls. He said he was a little dizzy, but medical examinations showed no concussion or other serious injuries.

Wiskus' tenacity made an impression on actor Laverne Cox of "Orange is the New Black," who wrote an Instagram post praising him. "Most of us are going to fall when we're trying to fly high," Cox wrote. "Thank you @shanewiskus for showing us how to keep getting back up when we fall."

With the Olympic trials only three weeks after the nationals, Wiskus wanted to put the incident behind him as quickly as possible. Support from family and friends and working with a sports psychologist has helped.

He was determined to finish and ended the routine with a stuck dismount.

"Every routine, regardless of how it goes, is good practice," he said. "Being able to get up and finish the routine is always extremely important, and a good test."

Amazing, and amazed

The last Twin City Twisters gymnast to compete at the Olympic trials, Maggie Nichols, went by the nickname "Swaggie Maggie." The latest, Grace McCallum, will have a nickname, too.

McCallum said coach Sarah Jantzi has dubbed her "Amazing Grace." Wednesday, McCallum used the same adjective to describe making it to the Olympic trials.

"It's an amazing experience," the Isanti native said. "I'm super excited to be here."

McCallum, who tied for seventh in the all-around at the U.S. championships, said she has worked on consistency and fine-tuning her routines since the nationals.

Team to be revealed Saturday

While a few athletes will automatically qualify for the Olympic team based on trials results, selection committees will choose most athletes for the Tokyo roster. They will work quickly.

Brett McClure, director of high performance for the men's program, said the men's selection committee plans to complete the process in 30 minutes after the competition ends Saturday. The winner of the men's all-around earns an automatic berth, and the second-place finisher automatically qualifies if he places in the top three in at least three events. The top two women in the all-around also lock in spots.

As many as five men's and five women's alternates — more than usual — also will be named. USA Gymnastics President Li Li Leung said the number was expanded because of COVID. If one team member is exposed and has contact with others, she said it's possible the entire team would have to be replaced.

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