Strength and courage
Chinese gymnast speaks about support, recovery, and DiCaprio
Posted: Monday August 03, 1998 12:51 AM
NEW YORK (AP) - The gymnast paralyzed in a Goodwill Games accident said Sunday that a hospital visit from actor Leonardo DiCaprio had given her a boost.
Sang Lan, the 17-year-old who broke her neck in a practice vault July 21, said in an interview with TBS that DiCaprio had given her his autograph and a movie poster from 'Titanic,' and had his picture taken with her.
"He said some encouraging words to me and expressed his concern and wants me to be strong," Sang Lan said in her first interview since the accident.
Sang had mentioned after the fall that she would like to meet DiCaprio, and the star of 'Titanic' spent about an hour with her last Thursday at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan.
The interview was conducted by Goodwill Games TBS studio host Jim Lampley at Mount Sinai, where Sang was moved last week to begin rehabilitation.
Television pictures showed her from the shoulders up, her head in a heavy brace. She spoke through an interpreter and appeared to be smiling.
Doctors have said she probably will never walk again.
Sang said her rehabilitation was "difficult, but I think it will get better."
"I'm doing upper extremities and then later they are going to teach me how to eat and then I can help myself," she said, adding that the strength she gained as an athlete "helps me a lot."
She also thanked the thousands of people who had sent cards, letters and presents.
"I'm really happy that so many people supported me and I want to thank all the people who care about me and support me," she said.
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