Córdoba Heads to Rio After Simões Injured
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Portuguese gymnast Gustavo Simões has withdrawn from the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and will be replaced by first alternate Nicolás Córdoba of Argentina.


Nicolás Córdoba (Argentina)

Simões suffered a fractured left foot and was forced to withdraw. Córdoba, the first alternate following the second qualification in April, now heads to the Olympic Games.

"Unfortunately, the fall suffered by Gustavo on (July) 9th caused a fracture in his left foot," the Portuguese Gymnastics Federation announced Friday. "It is a type of injury that will require surgical resolution at some point, but there's good potential for full functional recovery. However, given the proximity of the Olympic Games, we cannot in any way treat him and get him back in time for him to participate in the competition."

Córdoba, who was married in May, said he nearly retired after failing to qualify in April. He said he woke up Friday to messages of congratulations before being notified by the Argentinean Gymnastics Federation.

"I had been a bitter taste after the Olympic qualification, and I had thought about quitting training," he said. "Then I thought better of it and started training for the World Cup. Now I cannot stop smiling."

Córdoba, who turns 27 in November, has competed at every world championships since 2009. He has won six World Cup medals on his best event, high bar, and was the FIG World Cup overall high bar champion in 2015.

Córdoba brings Argentina's 2016 Olympic delegation to a record 213 athletes, tying the number who competed at the 1948 Olympic Games in London. Brazil's southern neighbor also will be represented in women's artistic gymnastics by Ailén Valente.

Australian gymnast Michael Mercieca is now the first alternate to the men's competition, and Luis Rivera (Puerto Rico) is the second alternate. The alternates for women are Marina Nekrasova (Azerbaijan) and Farah Ann Abdul Hadi (Malaysia).

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