With fewer than 200 days until the postponed 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, a potentially big blow has been dealt to the women’s sprint free and fly events.
Olympic champion and world record holder Sarah Sjostrom revealed today that she slipped on the ice and broke her elbow while visiting a friend in her native Sweden. Her Instagram page shows the 27-year-old’s arm in a cast spanning her hand to nearly her shoulder, supported by a sling, after the incident.
In her own words, Sjostrom said, “Unfortunately I’ve got some bad news this snowy Sunday morning from Stockholm. Yesterday I slipped badly on the ice and broke my elbow when I fell on the ground. It’s obviously very shi**y timing and I feel devastated, but at the same time I’m determined and motivated to come back stronger then ever. I’ve seen athletes who come back stronger after injuries and they are my big inspiration now. Surgery is scheduled tomorrow. I have an amazing support team around me, and they will help me with rehabilitation.”
Swedish team doctor Rene Tour told the media today regarding Sjostrom’s recovery, “It is difficult to say exactly how long it will take.
“She will have surgery tomorrow. The conditions become very clear when you do the operation. So we’ll know more about the timing perspective then.”
Tour said that Sjostrom was very calm about the situation, stating, “It was a very difficult afternoon for her. But Sarah is a tough person, she’s in good spirits. She will come out of this strong. Her first comment was that it was good that it was the right arm and not the left because she is left-handed.” (SVT Sport)
Anna Hammar, communications manager at the Swedish Swimming Association, told Sportbladet regarding Sjostrom’s Olympic prospects in light of the injury, “Nobody knows.”
Hammar also said, “She is of course sorry that this has happened, but she is in good spirits, we hope for the best for the operation. She is tough and will get through this in a good way, but it is clear that it is unfortunate.” The Swedish Swimming Federation is holding a press conference later today.
Sjostrom was one of the most successful women’s swimmers at the last edition of the Summer Olympic Games in Rio, having collected a trio of individual medals. The Swede’s crowning achievement was topping the women’s 100m butterfly podium, but she also nabbed 200m free silver and 100m free bronze.
More recently at the 2019 FINA World Championships, Sjostrom went on a tear, earning 5 individual medals. She topped the 50m butterfly podium and snagged silver in the 100m fly and 50m free. She also collected bronze in the 100m free and 200m free.
We have reached out to Sjostrom for comments on her situation.