Jan. 29, 2005: The Night Alicia Sacramone’s Career Almost Ended

[Above is a screencap, not a link. Link to video is below at the end of the post] Just prior to her bar routine after having fallen in warmups, Alicia gets last-minute advice from coach Mihai Brestyan.

I was there at Parkettes on January 29, 2005, the night Alicia Sacramone’s career almost ended. I had made the hour and a half drive up to Allentown and was excited to see Alicia compete in person, as she was already a star, having won vault at the 2004 World Cup in Birmingham a few months before, more than 3 years before the 2008 Olympics. That chilly January night in Allentown, she originally had planned to do only VT, FX & BB but not UB. Then at the last minute she decided to go ahead & do bars because the night was going well & she felt good. In retrospect, maybe not the best decision she ever made. At 2:45 in the video, watch the replay of her in warmups, as her hands slip off the bar way early on her dismount. Take a good look at the angle she’s headed toward the mat. It’s a very scary fall to watch unfold. If she lost the bar a fraction of an inch sooner, she would have had a very nasty fall, and quite possibly sustained a serious or even catastrophic neck/back injury. Considering how uncontrolled the fall was, Alicia was very lucky she wasn’t hurt. Watching a fall like that happening live in front of you gives you a horrible, sick feeling in the gut for a split-second, until you can see if they’re okay. Unfazed, Alicia did her bars routine in competition a few minutes later, and nailed it like it was nothing (although Mihai looks ready to sh*t his pants when she dismounts). Most of the time on awkward falls they are fine and walk away unscathed (thank God). But for that split-second while it’s happening, you don’t know if they’re going to walk away at all. Literally. https://youtu.be/_7DzOkmH5VM?t=165

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