Josh's painful path leads to London joy
Josh Jefferis has overcome injury to achieve his Olympic dream. Photo: Getty Images
Surgeons have had a field day with Josh Jefferis.
After five major operations and countless minor niggles, Australia's lone male gymnastics representative in London has emerged through his darkest days to live his Olympic Games dream.
The 26-year-old's selection was confirmed after he won the all-around title at last month's national championships in Sydney, beating good friend Tom Pilcher for the one and only spot up for grabs.
''I was overwhelmed with joy, just reliving it now sends goosebumps down my spine,'' Jefferis said.
''When they told me, the last 10 years of my sporting career flooded through my head.
''After missing out on Beijing by less than 0.05 [points] and having multiple operations in between, and having a hard preparation session to get the selection, it's been such a struggle.
''To get the nod and seal that success … it was the most incredible experience I've had.''
The Brisbane native has spent the past eight years in Canberra on scholarship at the AIS, a tenure punctuated with extreme of highs and lows.
Jefferis won two gold medals at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, taking out the rings and the all-around.
Another pair of trips to the highest platform of the dais followed in Delhi in 2010, winning the parallel bars and being a part of the first Australian men's team to win the all-around event.
Sandwiched in between was the disappointment of narrowly missing selection for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the constant battle with injury.
Those have included a fracture repair to his right wrist, surgery to his right forearm, two bouts of surgery to his left elbow and surgery to his right shoulder.
Luck also seemed to be against him when the buckle on his ring guard snapped in a freak occurrence during his rings routine in Canada in March, at a competition which formed part of the selection criteria.
''That's where I thought, 'Jesus, it's not meant to be','' Jefferis said.
''Every time I had surgery, I was thinking, 'this is a six-to-12-month turnaround, do I want to keep going'? I've certainly got a few niggling injuries which I've been managing since December.''
Jefferis has put a limit on how many attempts he has on each apparatus to give himself the best chance of reaching his goal of making the top 24 in the all-around at the Olympic Games.
He is desperate to atone for a disappointing world championships campaign last year where his preparation was disrupted by a broken finger and an ankle complaint.
''It's amazing what adrenaline can do,'' he said.
''When I'm on the comp floor, it's a matter of doing it no matter what.''
After that, he's keen to add to his Commonwealth Games medal haul at Glasgow in 2014 and hasn't ruled out a swansong on home soil at the 2018 Games on the Gold Coast.
Jefferis will go into camp with the Australian gymnastics team in Canberra on June 24.