By Kelly Whiteside, USA TODAY
LONDON - U.S. gymnast McKayla Maroney, the world gold medalist on vault, said Thursday she has a broken right big toe. She learned it was broken after re-injuring it on round-off dismount on her beam routine last Thursday.
McKayla Maroney, shown here at the Olympic Trials, has a broken toe but expects to be okay for the 2012 London team competition.
At a regularly scheduled press conference, USA Gymnastics head Steve Penny said he wanted to "provide clarity" to her injury, explaining "she aggravated a previous fracture." He said the toe was bruised and there was swelling but the training staff has been treating it and reduced the swelling.
Both Penny and Maroney said they feel confident in her ability to compete.
"I hit both my vaults today; that's what I'm here to do," she said of podium training, which is a formal workout with judges watching. "In my mind it's 100%.
"I feel really good right now."
Maroney wore flip-flops to the press conference and her right big toe was taped to her second toe.
The initial injury occurred two months ago before the Secret U.S. Championships in Chicago, she said. As a result of the aggravation, Maroney will only compete in the vault, her signature event, though she was being considered for floor as well. Kyla Ross is a two-time junior champ, is expected to take her spot on floor.
The favored USA women begin team competition Sunday.
Earlier Thursday, USA alternate Anna Li's improbable Olympic journey came to a close. Li tore a ligament in her neck after a fall from the uneven bars on Tuesday and "as a result, she is no longer training as a replacement athlete," USA Gymnastics said in a statement. She has been advised to wear a cervical collar as a precaution.
Teams are required to set their rosters Saturday. The other two alternates are Sarah Finnegan of St. Louis and Elizabeth Price of Coopersburg, Pa., and a third alternate can be added.
Li, whose specialty is uneven bars, was taken to a local hospital and at that time passed all tests, USA Gymnastics said.
At 23, the former All-American at UCLA is the oldest of the eight U.S. team members. She was considered too old, at 5-4 too tall, and too injury-worn (two surgically repaired broken feet) to make the U.S. team but a strong performance at the U.S. trials overcame those perceived obstacles.
After graduating in 2010, she worked as a stuntwoman for commercials and TV, before returning to training for a long-shot bid to the Olympics.