Ellie Downie fought on after hurting her neck during gymnastics qualifying on Sunday as Britain target a first women’s Games team medal in 88 years.
The 17-year-old was completing a tumble during her floor routine in the Rio Olympic Arena when she seemed to land awkwardly on her head.
She continued on for a few seconds before stopping mid-routine, holding her head in her hands in dismay and feeling her neck.
Medical staff and British team coaches ran to her assistance but Downie managed to walk out of the stadium without help.
It was the third of four rotations for the British gymnast who had already performed on the uneven bars and the beam.
She bravely continued to compete on the final apparatus the vault, as Britain bid for a first women’s team medal since 1928.
“I’m okay. Basically I took off my tumble rotation too slow,” said Downie, who is still hoping to qualify for the team, all-around and beam finals.
“I crunched my neck and felt it crack a little bit.
“I tried to carry on but felt a little bit dizzy. I panicked a bit. I knew four gymnasts are allowed to compete and three scores count and I said to myself ‘just stop’.
“When they took me out I said ‘I really, really want to compete’. They said ‘don’t do two vaults’ and I said ‘if I’m going to do one I might was well do two’.”
Despite a planned medical checkup she insisted she should be ready for Tuesday’s team final, with the all-around on Thursday.
“It’s a little bit stiff when I turn my neck, but I think I’ll be alright, I’ll take it easy tomorrow.”
Downie was part of the British women’s team that won their first team medal, a bronze, at last year’s worlds in Glasgow.
Older sister Beckie, 24, had the difficult task as team leader of refocusing the other three team members.
“I was definitely very afraid for her but I had to make sure the others did the job,” she said.
Teammate Amy Tinkler added: “I was scared for her, but I’m glad she made the right decision to stop.
“We all pulled together to support each other.
“I think that, when we come back for the team final, we’re all just going to enjoy it, and go stronger than today.”