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Ankle injury a pain for O'Neill

Aug. 09, 2008, 7:18 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) A single-digit score is rarely seen at the Olympic Games. Especially on a gymnast's best event.

A bad ankle forced Canada's Brandon O'Neill to bail out of his floor exercise routine after his first tumbling pass during men's qualifying Saturday, and he took a 3.45. Fortunately for O'Neill and the Canadians, teams get to drop their lowest score on each event during qualifying.

"After my second flip, my ankle turned out again," said O'Neill, who injured ligaments in his left ankle during training last Monday. "It wouldn't have been the smartest thing in the world to do my big-flipping pass."

O'Neill, who won the silver on floor at the test event here last fall, sat on the sidelines with ice on his ankle for several minutes. But he was back on the podium when Canada moved to its next - and last - event, pommel horse. He gutted through his routine, but managed only a 12.475, which the Canadians dropped.

The Canadians finished with 358.975 points, leaving them in sixth place after two subdivisions. Only the top eight teams make Tuesday's finals, and Germany, Romania and South Korea were still to go.

Canada has made the team finals only once before, in 1984, when the games were boycotted by most of gymnastics' strongest teams.

"The main thing is the team did amazing today," O'Neill said. "We only have to beat one of those (remaining) teams. Anything can happen. Hopefully, it'll be good enough."

If Canada does make team finals, O'Neill said he hopes to be on the floor.

"It's three days from now," he said. "I've got to see what I did to the ankle today after the freezing wears off."