In terms of danger, the stakes are highest for elite gymnasts who perform the trickiest of skills. Even their mastery, with the watchful eye of a skilled coach, isn't enough to prevent catastrophic injuries:
1980. At age 20, former Soviet Union gymnastics champion Elena Mukhina crash-lands while practicing a signature tumbling pass and is paralyzed. She dies decades later at 45.
1988. At age 15, American gymnast Julissa Gomez breaks her neck while performing a difficult vault. Paralyzed, she dies three years later from complications.
1989. A vaulting accident leaves Adriana Duffy, then 17, wheelchairbound. She was competing for Puerto Rico's national team.
1998. At age 17, Chinese gymnast Sang Lan has a vaulting slip-up and is paralyzed.
2007. Chinese gymnast Wang Yan, 15, falls from the uneven bars, breaking her neck.
Read more about how gymnastics is a worthwhile sport, even though it's risky.