Jana Pittman, the 400 metre hurdles world champion, today conceded she will not run at the Athens Olympics after damaging her right knee in a freak training accident on Friday.
The 21-year-old tore the lateral meniscus in her right knee while warming up for her race at the Zurich Golden League meeting and is expected to be out of action for up to five months.
Pittman was scheduled to undergo an arthoscopy when she saw a specialist at 7am in London today but is already resigned to missing out on her Athens dream - if only to preserve her future career.
“That’s this year’s campaign over, I’m not going to the Olympics,” she said today.
“We’re getting a second opinion from a guy in London but that’s the prognosis at this stage, to get a speedy recovery, because I don’t want to lose the rest of my career.
“I’ll probably have to have surgery over here and I won’t be able to walk for five weeks after the operation.
“They gave me the option that they can take my whole meniscus out and then I have maybe a five per cent chance of running at the Olympics.
“But then I probably wouldn’t walk in about 10 years time ever again, and I definitely wouldn’t be running again after this year if I did that, and there was only a five per cent chance that I’d run in the first place.
“We’ve made the decision that I won’t run at the Olympics.”
Pittman, who was favourite for Olympic gold, was trying to be philosophical about things as she spoke to Channel Seven’s Sportsworld programme.
“It doesn’t seem fair, I’m sure there’s a reason behind this or it’s trying to teach me a lesson to train harder next year I think,” she said.
“But I didn’t do anything wrong. It wasn’t like I was playing basketball or something stupid, I was just warming up at the Zurich Golden League.”
The Australian Olympic Committee have not yet officially ruled Pittman out of the team and are waiting on the news of today’s arthoscopy in the hope that some remedial work can be done.
“The MRI scan didn’t look good though and opening up the knee is the last chance,” said AOC president John Coates.