Announced yesterday, Paul Hamm has had to pull out of the 2008 Olympics in men’s gymnastics due to a broken right hand and strained left rotater cuff. He was the best hope for a medal, and he is the reigning Olympic men’s gymnastics all-around champion from 2004.
Hamm says he just didn’t have enough time with the injuries to recover and train. “From the beginning, my attempt at a comeback has been a long shot,” said the 25-year-old. This will likely end his career. Hamm leaves the sport as the most distinguished American male gymnast, the only one to claim the Olympic and world titles. “I’ve had a wonderful career and the success I had in the sport is more than I ever dreamed of,” he said. “I made the decision that I would be retiring after the Olympics, and that’s what I plan to do.”
Replacing Hamm will be Raj Bhavsar, who missed making the team by nine-100ths of a point at last month’s trials in Philadelphia. The U.S. men leave tomorrow, and competition begins August 9.
USA Gymnastics is still waiting for final clearance on whether Paul’s twin brother Morgan will be allowed to compete, after he received a warning earlier this month from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for getting a prescribed anti-inflammatory shot without having filed the proper paperwork.
I’m sure if Morgan goes, it will be a bittersweet moment for brother Paul, who will be missed.