Video: Rachel Atherton Posts Footage of The Moment her Achilles Tendon Snapped

Jul 19, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  
Rachel Atherton has posted the footage of the moment her Achilles Tendon snapped at the Les Gets World Cup and has confirmed she will be out for the rest of the season. It's a tough piece of footage to watch with Rachel in a lot of distress so it's probably one to skip if you're not a fan of graphic content.

Warning: graphic content.

The video shows her landing the finish drop a bit short but she seems to ride away fine at first. A few seconds later you hear the pain kick in and she rolls down to the finish area in a lot of pain with one foot unclipped. The clip ends with spectators trying to find her a medic and Rachel trying to make it back to the pits.

bigquotesDon't watch if you’re squeamish, my mum cried! What it sounds like to snap your Achilles’ tendon on the landing. It just felt so bizzare at first then the pain came!

My 3rd run having so much fun - I sent the Long Jump (first jump you see) & jumped furthest out of the Women! Yeeeaawww. Then 30 seconds later Cased the finish jump & that was my season over!! From long jump to short jump. I didn’t know whether to post this as it’s quite emotional & a bit grim,but I’m posting it now! Thanks to John for helping me out
Rachel Atherton

Rachel has already undergone surgery on her tendon and is starting the recovery process. She posted another Instagram of her preparing to go under the knife earlier this week:

bigquotesAs suspected I’ve completely torn my Achilles Tendon! So it’s Surgery today to fix it! Couldn’t be more different to this day exactly a week ago! Olly Davey looking after me tho. I wanted to watch the World Cup on Red Bull but I’ll be under the knife when they drop in which is so BIZARRE to think about!!

I really REALLY appreciate all your lovely messages, I’m just feeling super disappointed not to be able to keep the battle going this year with the girls & keep pushing myself & the new bike.
Rachel Atherton

We wish Rachel the best in her continued recovery and hope to see her back on the bike soon. Healing vibes!


  • 374 3
 PRO-TIP: Don't watch the clip in the office with the sound turned up.
  • 19 2
  • 93 2
 I did... on purpose... it was awesome. The "prairie dogging" was next level!
  • 31 2
 @islandforlife: power move
  • 10 1
 or in the break room, really awkward looks as I was leaving, didnt realize...
  • 8 1
 Too late.. See ya job
  • 8 1
 ...I should have read this comment before watching! Yikes
  • 3 2
 I totally did before reading this!!!!! LMAO
  • 1 0
 @thelocalshredder: Hahaha. My wife was looking at me funny until she saw the clip. Honestly I know people with that injury and it's mega pain and feels very bizar by account. Wish her the best.
  • 3 1
 @islandforlife: " Now that's a bold strategy cotton, lets see if it pays off for him."
  • 6 0
 Shoulda read that first, now my wife thinks I was watching porn in front of her
  • 7 36
flag drangus (Jul 19, 2019 at 18:46) (Below Threshold)
 Show me a huge upvoted comment for a guy groaning with a season ending injury because it sounds like sex and is funny. You guys suck.
  • 7 1
 Or while you're sitting on the sun lounger in the kids pool with your daughter... and about 30 parents start staring at you. Not a good look.
  • 2 1
 @Theguyfromthealps: lol awkward
  • 3 0
 Yup co-worker just called me out asking what kind of skin flick I was watching.
  • 1 0
 @Theguyfromthealps: Compare to 4 grown men (college) in the kids pool, one wearing a gas mask and three others pouring beer through the muzzle. It could be worse.
  • 3 5
 @drangus: hurt snowflake incoming. Why are some of you Mericans so sensitive all the time??
  • 9 5
 @laubry: because that’s how society here is trying to make us. Have to be respectful of people’s feelers nowadays. Can’t tell them how it is or crack jokes at others expenses or watch a video of someone getting injured and her crying in pain without getting judgmental looks like your watching porn then making a comment about the weird looks you got because that’s insensitive to Rachel for getting injured.... we’re falling down a slope of pc-retardation.
  • 2 6
flag pinnityafairy (Jul 20, 2019 at 14:31) (Below Threshold)
 @scotttherider: huck your feelings. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion whether you like it or not sheeple. Grow a pair and stand your ground for what you believe in and your rights. You might not like another person's opinion but they are entitled to it and they have the right to voice it so thicken your skin up and deal with the reality of the true world.
  • 6 5
 @pinnityafairy: I have my opinions. I stand behind them. I do stand for my rights. I often get in trouble for harassment policies at my work because I often tell it how I see it and often offend others. Laubry asked why some Americans are so sensitive. I answered him. Our country is full of pussyfied boys these days. I’m not allowed to indoctrinate new workers how I was because it’s harassment. I’m at the top of my current field going through what I went through and I learned from it. This is my opinion. To many little bitches that were told they could be anything they wanted but have no intentions of putting the time or effort in to be what they wanted.
  • 1 3
 @scotttherider: tell it how it is. If you're at the top the only place to go is head down hill
  • 2 0
 I'm sorry guys, didn't intend to start the next civil war Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @pinnityafairy: that’s why the bikes coming on the next job with me. I’ll be at whitefish every Sunday that I’m off.
  • 2 0
 @laubry: you’re all good. This ones not about gun control.
  • 94 3
 Who in their right mind would want to watch someone snap their achilles...? immediately clicks on link.
  • 8 3
 Well fortunately there's not much to see. If you want to actually see an achilles snap you can google some slowmos of Kevin Durant snapping his achilles, you can actually see it snap and retract into the calf as they have high quality cameras and no pantaloons in the NBA.
  • 3 0
 @Bunabe: I think it's going to be quite a few years before the image of Durant snapping his achilles leaves my head.
Not gonna watch Rachel's for the same reason.

Best wishes Rachel get stronger than ever.
  • 12 0
 F__k me, can you imagine trying to unclip after that? I was flailing around on the ground like a toddler last weekend and all I had was a cramped quad.
  • 1 0
 @Bunabe: I googled bimalleolar ankle fractures after I did mine... the NBA does get some dramatic footage of lower leg injuries!
  • 4 0
 @Bunabe: delete this
  • 2 1
 This one from a few years ago still takes the cake
  • 1 0
 @Victoriamike: yep, that was a little too familiar...
  • 2 0
 Saw a guy snap his 5 feet in front of me when I was a kid. No desire to ever see another one...
  • 17 0
 Ooof, that hurt to watch.

Next season is going to be awesome though. Rachel, Tanhee and Pom Pon looking for redemption, Tracey will be going hard to back up this season's success and Cabirou & Hoffman are coming into their own. Can't wait!
  • 8 44
flag hyperider (Jul 19, 2019 at 8:23) (Below Threshold)
 Rachel is done, Achilles takes at least a year to recover plus another year of rehab..
  • 35 1
 @hyperider: thanks for chiming in, doc.
  • 7 1
 It will be over a year before she is back to her normal self. Achilles rupture's are no joke.
  • 6 0
 And with Vali Holl coming in too, it’s going to be on!!!
  • 2 1
 @hyperider: I fully ruptured my Achilles back in October, I'm riding Whistler at the moment unrestricted ( only for my shit skills ) and last month I was riding Andorra unrestricted ( only for my shit skills ) - 6 month rehabilitation, I'm sure Rachbox can beat my time by a few weeks,if not a whole month...
  • 2 0
 @Luis-Sc: yea I have a friend that ruptured his bs knob November and had been back to playing sports completely normally since about a month ago.
  • 2 1
 @sino428: i don't know exactly why i'd *lie about something like this but hey... here it goes...

- buddy driving my car back from foxhunt - i was so drugged i never felt any pain
- operated a few days later
- first ride ( heavily restricted ) 23rd february ( i posted a picture of it *on my pinkbike photos )
- my buddy been showing me around whistler - i'm chicken shit to do most of it but yeah there's that

my fitness level is miles apart from rachbox... i wouldn't be surprised if she would get back on her bike in 3 months time and wouldn't call it a miracle recovery, just determination and dedication....
  • 3 0
 @Luis-Sc: Three months time from a full achilles rupture....ha! To get back to where she can be at HER level of competition will be a lot more time, probably not next season. Hopefully I'm wrong, but here is a big difference of casually riding around to racing at the highest levels in the world. It will take her a good amount of time, I feel for her and hope she has a smooth recovery.
  • 11 0
 for those who don't know-there are 3 ways to rupture the achilles tendon. 1) tear the tendon off the heel bone 2) tear the tendon between the heel bone and the calf muscles (injuring only the tendon itself) 3) tear the tendon from the calf muscles. numbers 1&2 can be repaired surgically. number 3, not so much...since she's going into surgery, must be 1 or 2. good luck rachel! heal up soon!
  • 9 0
 Thanks, I hate it.
  • 10 0
 Tough as nails! You will heal up fast Rach! You are young and strong and time is on your side! Keep the great healing attitude going!!!
  • 7 0
 I had so little blood in my adrenalin when it happened to me that I never felt anything - it's horrible to watch ( i find it interesting the warnings come AFTER the video ) - I'd say with your level of fitnes and a skilled team supporting you, I bet you're in the boot in 6 weeks, physio right after, back on the DH rig in 4 months !

Wishing you a very speedy recovery !
  • 8 0
 ...and she rode it out!!! Move aside Arnold, we have a new Terminator. Tough as nails!!!
  • 3 0
 I have the utmost respect for her ability to not crash afterwards. I'd imagine that she must have thought crashing after that incident would not help so she would have had to fight like woman posessed to keep it upright. Skills and guts. Wishing her a full and speedy recovery. DH is poorer without her.
  • 4 0
 Unpleasant to watch. Although I watched it a few times! Having snapped tendons, I can relate to the pain & weird feelings.
  • 3 0
 wow, having thad that same injury many years ago, that was very hard to watch and hear...! Man, i so hope she has no complications and can make a strong return. She sure is a tough one!
  • 2 0
 Keep up the positivity Rachel! I got to give you a high5 at Whistler crankworx and said You're Awesome!! And you replied with a just as Stoked YOU'RE Awesome!! Smile Still got a crush! Smile Enjoy some good books and food and movies and I know you'll come back strong!!!! Hit me up in wa state to come trout fish! ( Not far from whistler! Smile Stay Stoked!
  • 3 0
 Good grief. I can't imagine trying to unclip with that injury. Get well soon! ....yet I'm still off to watch Friday Fails next. I feel dirty.
  • 1 0
 Positives - a rupture, needing surgery, is better than a tear. It'll be twice as strong once healed and extremely unlikely to rupture again. Good luck with your recovery Rachel, 8 weeks in plaster, about the same again with rehab/physio, and you'll be good to go again! Tip - don't watch when they replace the plaster for the first time......not good
  • 1 0
 When I ruptured mine 9 years ago now it felt like an electric shock, but wasn't instantly painful. About an hour later it felt like a calf cramp, and ached for a few days but was never unmanageable. In most respects the injury hasn't been limiting (on the first anniversary I was climbing Kilimanjaro), but I never regained full calf strength, which can lead to so lower back problems from the imbalance, particularly on the road bike.
  • 4 0
 You got this rach! You'll be back on top in no time!
  • 4 0
 Tough as nails. No way I could have kept riding down.
  • 3 0
 I suspect it's a good thing that I don't have any sound on my work computer.
  • 3 0
 Imagining a snapped achilles and hearing the pain she was in made me feel a bit sick
  • 2 0
 Tons of respect for riding it out. I can't believe she did that but toughness comes with the sport I guess especially at a pro level.
  • 1 0
 Searing pain for about 5 seconds, then nothing... Unless you try to depress the clutch pedal in your car to get home from the tennis courts...btdt. 3 months to normal walking...5-6 to full recovery, for mortals.
  • 4 1
 Not the jersey we like to see you in, but still looking badass Smile
  • 2 0
 Beast mode! Get well soon Rachel all the best on your recovery and cheering on your rivals and mates!
  • 3 0
 She seems really grounded, awful to see her hurt.
  • 1 0
 I was actually there at the weekend watching the morning practice. That stepdown is absolutely massive, my ankles were twinging just watching the riders.
  • 1 0
 Gutted for Rach! Looked like she was finally getting up to speed on the new sled. Hope that she’s able to make a full recovery. Achilles are a bitch to come back from!
  • 2 0
 Hell no, painfest. Heal up quick Rachel.
  • 2 0
 All ready to help .......... : o
  • 3 1
 Heal fast! Stay on it...... Good vibes your way.
  • 2 0
 Get some Barnes Myofascial release ASAP!! Happy healing ~~~~
  • 2 0
 Dang hearing her squeal like that was unsettling, hope she recovers soon.
  • 2 0
 THAT SUCKS RACHEL!!! Rest up and heal that thing!
  • 2 0
 Ouch, hoping she has a speedy recovery!
  • 11 13
 So we all know the mens field is more competitive than the womens, and mostly because there are a ton more men that ride mountain bikes than women. Several people (myself being guilty) have said that Rachels dominance has mostly been due to this lack of competition. There are/were only Carpenter, Ragot, PomPon, Hannah, and Seagrave who have ever been competitive with her, and when Rachel is on fire she still can win by like 10 seconds. I always compared her to Gee; if the womens field was as competitive as the mens, she would have similar results to him (which is not small amount; Gee has had dozens of podiums, multiple cup and world championship wins).

However, lately I've been questioning this. I'm starting to think that Rachel is not only the greatest female DH racer of all time, but that we are seeing as close to the female maximum performance potential as we ever will. Seeing her injure her tendon like this, plus other injuries shes had, I think she is so fast that she's pushing the limit on female physiology. I'm not sure women can go any faster. Not only that, but look at her technique. This is most clearly contrasted with Pompon: Rachel rides like a man. Pompon steers her bike with her lower body, rides in a further back position, and drives from the hips. Rachel rides with her upper body. Shes more forward on the bike, more active in her arms, and keeps her weight lower. In sheer physical strength shes probably the strongest woman to ever race professionally, plus she has technique that some of the pro men envy.

Anyways, those are my thoguhts.
  • 5 4
 These are my thoughts:

Rachel's days of winning races by 10s were behind her even before this injury. The women's field is becoming increasingly competitive.
"As close to the maximum female performance potential" as we will ever see. I don't know where to begin with this other than to say I think it is nonsense. This line might make more sense if you were talking about 100m sprinting or even marathons (although it would still be untrue), but there are so many variables in DH racing which contribute to success. To suggest we've seen the best that women riders will ever achieve just shows how little you rate female athletes.
As for your explanation of Rachel's superior masculine riding style, I think you are way off the mark again. There's a bizarre array of wildly different riding styles in the men's elite - which should female rider's copy?
There's no doubt that Rachel has been a dominant force in the sport and is an exceptional rider, but she's out of contention now and for the foreseeable future. That doesn't mean the sport is over, it just means it's time for other talent to shine.
  • 2 0
 @Malky79: "shows how little you rate female athletes" dude, Rachel is faster than 99% of pinkbikers; she sometimes is fast enough to qualify for the mens. Thats not "little", thats insane.
  • 2 7
flag Matt76 (Jul 19, 2019 at 14:09) (Below Threshold)
 I dont, the women are so far off the men in terms of pace. People bang on about men are so much stronger but you simply do not need to be strong to be fast. Ive witnessed some of the skinnest male riders tear down a track at lightening speed. The gap in strength between men and women is not as big as made out. I witness a lot of women in the gym lift some serious weight. In fact i watched a women dead lift 120kg who was quite slender. Her henched boyfriend had to take weight off it so he could then deadlift it. The question has to be asked why is there such a big gap betweem the men and women?
  • 1 1
 @hamncheez: You're suggesting she had no viable competition.
If she was so superior in terms of ability and physical prowess she'd never be beaten, except she was. She wasn't even leading the overall prior to her accident. She's very talented and enjoyed a long period of dominance. It doesn't mean she reached the pinnacle of female potential.
  • 1 3
 @Malky79: In my thoughts rachel has really been disgraceful in defeat the last few years. I hope she has a speedy recovery but also hope with all thats going on this will humble her in defeat.
  • 1 0
 @bagballz: I can see where you are coming from, I'm not a fan, but you can't deny her talent and achievements. I think she's done a lot to raise the bar in the women's field, but I also think her dominance has also overshadowed other rider's achievements at times. Hopefully the rest of this season and next isn't tainted by endless comments about "well if Rachel was competing..." Training, qualifying, crashing, mechanicals, injuries - all riders have to contend with these. It doesn't matter if you're theoretically the best/fastest rider if you don't win the points. Luck is always going to be a factor too.
  • 2 1
 @bagballz: @bagballz: Where in the f*ck does that come from?? Disgraceful? Put up or shut up, Ive seen every loss AND win since 2008... never once was she anything less than the greatest champion of the sport ever. You are simply another Atherton hater... plain as. Her and Tahnee really do NOT like eachother, if you want to make things up in your head, go for it. Put up the videos... the print quotes... come on tosser, I will wait right here for the proof, otherwise sod off.
  • 2 1
 Nothing graphic about it at all. However a horrible injury none the less. Heal soon.
  • 1 0
 Heavy, bless you.
Super fast recovery,
Super power vibes comin atchya Rach.

Pete and Noah (8yrs)
  • 2 0
 Started crying when i watched that, take care love!!
  • 1 3
 What?!? Why would that make you cry?
  • 1 0
 That poor woman that sounded so painful heal up and come back and kick some butt
  • 1 0
 Arrrrghhhhh. If I know anything, I cracked my finger nail in grade 2, and it's still cracked 23 years later.
  • 2 0
 Avoid fluorchinolone antibiotics when you love your tendons!
  • 2 1
 Get fixed soon. Stay strong we are all sending healing vibes.
  • 2 0
 Ouch !
  • 3 3
 Tought as Superman sexy like wonder woman she will be back and fighting with vengeance in no time. Healing vibes to Rach.
  • 1 0
 Nope. No no no Seriously stop now
  • 1 0
 Best wishes for full recovery. Can’t wait for you to be back.
  • 1 0
 getting on aging speedy recovery rachel ahterton
  • 1 0
 get well soon rach
  • 1 0
 Heal up soon Rachel
  • 1 0
 Speedy recovery kid!!
  • 1 0
 She has been the best for a few years. This is not the 1st time she had to come back from injury. She is most awesome.
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