Miss Florida, Despite Knee Injury, Wins Miss America Talent Competition

By ABC News

Sep 13, 2013 4:55pm

By EVELYN SEIJIDO and TARYN HARTMAN

Just hours after suffering a devastating knee injury, Miss Florida Myrrhanda Jones took the Miss America stage and brought the house down Thursday night during the pageant’s final night of preliminary competition.

Jones suffered a completely torn ACL and a partially torn MCL in her right knee after a fall during her talent rehearsal Thursday morning. Medics took her offstage on a stretcher and rushed her to the hospital. She returned to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall with a brace on her knee and determined to perform.

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“Football players normally do this in a game and they’re out for the rest of the season, they don’t come back,” Jones told ABC News. “It’s not exactly like that here. I’m coming back.”

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Miss Florida Myrrhanda Jones was taken to the hospital after suffering a knee injury during rehearsal for the Miss America Pageant's final night of preliminary competition. Credit: ABC News

The fiercely competitive 20-year-old baton twirler had the night’s top talent performance and walked away with a Preliminary Talent Award and a $2,000 scholarship.

“I’m finishing this thing,” Jones said before a final run-through.

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“I’m probably one of the most competitive people here, and I’m ready to do it. I’m really ready to do this. I’m excited. I think it’s gonna be great.”

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Miss Florida, Myrrhanda Jones was named preliminary talent winner for her baton twirling during the 2014 Miss America Pageant, Sept. 12, 2013, in Atlantic City. (Donald Kravitz/Getty Images)

It certainly was. After a high-energy routine that belied the pain she was feeling, Jones walked offstage with a slight limp and a standing ovation ringing in her ears.

“Electrifying,” she said backstage. “It was absolutely incredible. Believe in the plan. Everything will work out.”

“I firmly believe if there’s a will, there’s a way. I willed myself to be here, I willed myself to win Miss Florida, and I’m willing myself to win Miss America.”

ABC News’ Keturah Gray and Thomas Krakowiak contributed to this report.

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