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Olympic vault champion likely to miss Rio Games

Yang Hak-seon

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 06: Hak Seon Yang of Korea reacts after winning the gold medal in the Artistic Gymnastics Men’s Vault on Day 10 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 6, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Olympic vault champion Yang Hak-seon is unlikely to be able to defend his title in Rio after undergoing right Achilles surgery Wednesday, according to South Korean media.

“We will have to wait and see for now, but it would be difficult to expect him to compete in Rio,” his coach said, according to the Chosun Ilbo.

Yang, 23, is the only South Korean Olympic gymnastics champion. He also took World titles on vault in 2011 and 2013.

Yang was looking to face off with North Korean Ri Se-gwang in Rio. Ri captured the World vault titles in 2014 and 2015.

American Sam Mikulak was fifth in the 2012 Olympic vault final. Countryman Donnell Whittenburg earned bronze at Worlds on Nov. 1.

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