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Olympic vault champion 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 will not be able to defend his title in Rio after tearing an Achilles tendon in March, according to South Korean media.

“Yang Hak-seon told us that in his present state he isn’t able to perform professional techniques,” the Korea Gymnastics Association said in a statement, according to Yonhap News Agency. “He’s gradually getting better, but he will need more treatment to become fully healthy.”

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, but Whittenburg was left off the U.S. Olympic team.

MORE: Analyzing the U.S. Olympic men’s gymnastics team