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Hamm Announces Competitive Retirement
(8 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

2004 Olympic champion Paul Hamm (U.S.) has dropped his bid for a third Olympic appearance, announcing his competitive retirement Tuesday from the sport of gymnastics.

Hamm, 29, told the AP he has not been able to overcome an ongoing shoulder injury. He underwent surgery in January 2011 to repair a torn right labrum and rotator cuff. He competed at the U.S. Winter Cup in February but was not named to the national team.

Paul Hamm (U.S.)

"It's come to that time," said Hamm, who competed along with his twin brother, Morgan Hamm, at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games. "Your mind wants an outcome a certain way, and it used to be a certain way, but you can't get your body to perform that certain way. And I can see it."

Hamm is the most successful U.S. male gymnast in history, becoming the first American man to win the all-around title at both the world championships (2003) and Olympic Games (2004).

"Paul's achievements in gymnastics and contributions to the men's program were significant in helping the United States emerge as a world power," Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics, said in a statement. "Becoming the world and Olympic all-around champion was an unprecedented accomplishment for our country. Not only did he enjoy individual success, but he also was a force in our team's success and raised the bar for men's gymnastics in the United States."

Hamm's outstanding career is notable for its extreme highs and lows. A scoring controversy erupted after the all-around final at the 2004 Olympic Games, when it was discovered Korean gymnast Yang Tae Young had been shorted 0.10 on his parallel bars routine. Yang appealed to the FIG, the IOC and the Court of Arbitration in Sport, all of which declined to alter the results.

Hamm took a hiatus following the 2004 Olympics but returned in time for the 2008 Olympic Games. In 2008, he was headed toward his fourth U.S. all-around title, but suffered a broken hand on parallel bars during the competition. He successfully petitioned to the Olympic team, but withdrew days before the competition because of injury.

In September, Hamm made headlines again, this time after being arrested for an alleged assault on a taxi driver. Hamm, whose arrest video was widely circulated, lost his job as assistant coach at Ohio State over the incident. In February, he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges and is serving a suspended sentence and one year of probation.

"I hope I am remembered for my gymnastic accomplishments, and as a kind person," he said in a statement. "Gymnastics has given me so much and now it is my turn to give back. I will always have gymnastics in my heart, and I will continue to stay involved with the governing body and all aspects of the sport."

Hamm plans to pursue his master's degree in business at Marquette University.

Comments (1)add comment

Anonymous said:

We wanted a comeback!! It's too bad I was really looking forward to this. Maybe 2016? That would be nice to see. All the best to your future endeavors, Paul!
March 28, 2012
Votes: -1

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