LONDON -- A broken toe didn't stop McKayla Maroney from vaulting all summer. It sure isn't going to stop her at the Olympics.
The world vault champion aggravated a break in her right big toe during training last week, and she took it easy for the next few days. She was back to full strength at Thursday's podium training, the only opportunity gymnasts have to work on the competition floor before Sunday's preliminaries.
The American did at least a half-dozen vaults, sprinting full-speed down the runway and landing securely each time. She declared herself fine afterward.
"Vault is what I'm here for," Maroney said. "I knew I was going to do vault no matter what."
Maroney initially broke her toe in late May, and did it again the next month. She split the bone further during training last Thursday doing a dismount on balance beam. She has done only light training since then while getting treatment on the toe, including electronic stimulation, acupuncture and ice "probably 30 times a day."
"It's painful, but I'm fine and I'm ready to do my job now, so that's all that matters," said Maroney, who showed off a toe with only the slightest hint of swelling after practice.
Maroney is expected to do only one event, vault, but it is a big one for the Americans, who are heavily favored to win their second Olympic title. The Americans all do one of the hardest vaults in the world, and it could give them a sizable gap on the Russians and Chinese.
"I'm here to try to get that gold medal and I know that I can do it," Maroney said. "I'm just really excited to get out there and start the competition."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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