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French Team Dedicates Bronze to Injured Severino
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Following France's historic bronze medal at the European Championships Saturday, the team dedicated its podium presence to two-time Olympian Isabelle Severino, who suffered a torn Achilles Thursday at the competition in Clermont-Ferrand, France.
Severino suffered a torn Achilles Thursday

"We did this for her," team member Cassy Véricel told newspaper L'Equipe.

On Saturday France won a senior team medal at a European Championships for the first time, finishing third behind gold medalist Romania and runner-up Russia.

Teammate Marine Petit praised the leadership of Severino, who watched the team final on television.

"She is an example for us, the backbone of the team," Petit said.

Severino, who turns 28 on April 9, partially tore her left Achilles' tendon warming up a full-in on floor exercise during the qualification competition.

The injury will require surgery and four months of rehabilitation for Severino, whose storied career includes a world bronze medal on bars in 1996 followed by competitive runs in pole vaulting and sports aerobics and a stint in Cirque du Soleil.

Severino returned to gymnastics in 2004 to make her second Olympic team, which she followed with the 2005 European title on floor exercise and a stunt double role in the 2006 Disney film "Stick It!" At the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart, Severino was a finalist on beam.

Marine Petit

It is Severino's third injury in as many years. She suffered a torn calf muscle in 2006 and underwent shoulder surgery in 2007.

Following the diagnosis Thursday, Severino did not mince words.

"It's the end of gym, the end of the Olympics, the end of everything I had counted on. Everything collapses," she told the paper.

Severino had been scheduled to carry the Olympic flame through her native Paris on Monday.

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