Caterina Bruno remains in stable condition tonight after her fall in this week's Meridien Gymnastics Championships. According to a Bruno family spokesperson, the devoutly-Christian athlete's recurrent--and inconveniently-timed--stigmata was to blame for the accident.
Such supernatural manifestations of blood on Ms. Bruno's palms have been loosening the athlete's grip on gymnastics equipment since last June's semi-finals in St. Paul.
Caterina's fall has likely ended one of the most promising careers in the sport's history. The young gymnast has practiced the austerities of Olympic training since her sixth birthday, when she was discovered by U.S. coach Boris Renning. In St. Paul, she became the first woman to perform an Iron Cross during competition.
"And that's where the trouble started," Caterina recalled.
At this crucial moment in her St. Paul routine, stigmata saturated the wrappings on Ms. Bruno's hands, harming her form and ruining her chances to compete in the 2006 Turin Olympics.
Recurrences of the stigmata eventually damaged more than Caterina's scores. In Aachen, Ms. Bruno shattered both feet, and punctured the side of her body after landing on one of the uneven bars.
"I still have a couple surgeries ahead of me, some transfusions and transplants. There's some blood waiting for me back home in Siena, and a kidney in Venice. I'm like a saint already, with relics all over the place."
"The most important thing is, I have absolutely no regrets," she said. "I'm ready to move on. Gymnastics was just heaven's way of teaching me flexibility."
Her availability for the Turin Olympics remains shrouded in mystery...