- Samir Ait Said tells fans he will be back to win gold in four years' time
- Said missed the 2012 Olympics because he broke the other leg
It was the kind of injury that made spectators hurriedly look away and caused teammates to bury their heads.
French gymnastics officials tweeted that he fractured his tibia and fibula and would have surgery as soon as possible.
They said he thanked fans for their support and would be back to win gold at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
landed awkwardly after doing two backward flips off the vault.
According to USA Today, the leg breaking made a sharp crack that could be heard throughout the venue.
As Said grabbed around his knee and looked up at his lower left leg, he saw it flop unnaturally to the side. The 26-year-old covered his face with his right hand and was silent, perhaps too in shock to scream.
He was taken off on a stretcher, giving a wave to the crowd as he was carried away.
"It is very difficult for the team. He was one of the friendliest on the team which is very difficult -- he came to win a medal and gave everything 200 percent," team leader Corrine Moustard-Callon told reporters.
It is not Said's first major injury after a vault.
He missed the 2012 Olympics because he fractured his right leg in three places at the European Championships, according to the NBC Olympics website.