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Hambüchen to Skip Europeans to Focus on Olympic Games
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With Olympic gold in reach, German superstar Fabian Hambüchen told IG he has decided to skip the upcoming men's European championships to train for the London Games this summer.

Hambüchen, who has struggled with injuries the past three years, will forgo the continental competition, taking place May 23-27 in Montpellier, France. He won the all-around title at the 2009 European Championships in Milan and helped Germany win the team title at the 2010 Europeans in Birmingham.

"I'm skipping Europeans to have a better and longer preparation for the Olympics," he told IG Wednesday.

Since his victory on parallel bars at the 2002 Junior Europeans, Hambüchen has led a revival of the German's men program. He has won 11 European championship medals (six gold) and seven world medals, including back-to-back all-around medals in 2006 (bronze) and 2007 (silver). He was the world champion on high bar in 2007, but came away from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing with only a bronze on high bar.

Hambüchen has suffered a series of frustrating injuries over the past few years. In early 2009, he underwent finger surgery for an injury suffered in Beijing. That fall he was forced to withdraw from the world championships after rupturing a ligament in his ankle in podium training. He contributed four events to Germany's team bronze at the 2010 Worlds, then suffered a torn Achilles' tendon in early 2011.

Now training a spectacular 7.7-Difficulty routine on high bar (click for video), the 24-year-old Hambüchen wants to stay healthy in order to peak this summer in London.

"I will miss competing at Europeans, but it's just for my own safety," he said. "The Olympics are so important to me."

Two-time world all-around runner-up Philipp Boy, the 2011 European all-around champion, headlines the German squad in Montpellier. This year's event will follow the 2010 format, with senior team and apparatus titles up for grabs and team, all-around and apparatus titles for juniors.

Russia — which missed the 2010 Europeans because of the Icelandic volcano that interrupted air travel — is favored to regain the title it last won in 2008. The Russians took fourth behind China, Japan and the U.S. at the 2011 Worlds. (Russia will be without the services of 2010 national all-around champion Dmitry Barkalov, who is making his international debut for Belarus in Montpellier.)

"I think the German team is really strong this year, but it will be very difficult to defend the title," Hambüchen said. "In 2010 we had been a little bit lucky that Russia couldn't compete there because of the volcano."

The unforgiving three-up, three-count format of team finals means several countries can challenge for the title. Great Britain (second in 2010) and France (third in 2010) are both missing key gymnasts, however; British star Daniel Keatings is suffering from an ankle injury while French world champion Thomas Bouhail suffered a broken leg and torn knee ligaments in December.

"It will be a big fight between Russia, Great Britain, France and Germany for the title this year, but Germany has a good chance if they hit all their routines!" Hambüchen said.

External Link: Official Website

2012 Men's European Gymnastics Championships Roster
May 23-27, Montpellier, France

Senior Competitors
Vahagn Davtyan
Artur Dvtyan
Harutyn Merdinyan
Vahagn Stepanyan
Vahan Vardanyan
Marco Baldauf
Xheni Dyrmishi
Lukas Kranzlmüller
Fabian Leimlehner
Matthias Schwab
Shakir Shikaliyev
Thomas Neuteleers
Kristof Schroe
Jonas Toeback
Donna-Donny Truyens
Jimmy Verbaeys
Dmitry Barkalov
Pavel Bulavsky
Dmitry Kasperovich
Andrei Likhovitsky
Alexander Tsarevich
Emil Hristov
Hristos Marinov
Emil Stoimenov
Velislav Valchev
Yaroslav Vovk
Marko Brez
Tomislav Markovic
Marijo Moznik
Robert Seligman
Filip Ude
Irodotos Georgallas
Georgios Georgiou
Jiri Bomer
Martin Konecny
Joao Marcus Fuglsig
Mathias Lee Hansen
Mikkel Sondergaard
Helge Vammen
Joachim Winther
Nestor Abad
Javier Gómez
Fabián González
Rubén López
Sergio Muñoz
Kasper Holopainen
Juho Kanerva
Jouko Koskinen
Heikki Niva
Tomi Tuuha
Samir Ait Said
Yann Cucherat
Gael Da Silva
Hamilton Sabot
Cyril Tommasone
Ruslan Panteleymonov
Daniel Purvis
Louis Smith
Kristian Thomas
Max Whitlock
Shalva Dalakishvili
Mikheil Kharabadze
Nodar Lionidze
Paata Nozadze
Philipp Boy
Sebastian Krimmer
Marcel Nguyen
Thomas Taranu
Andreas Toba
Eleftherios Kosmidis
Vlasios Maras
Dimitrios Markousis
Eleftherios Petrounias
Vasileios Tsolakidis
Adam Babos
Krisztian Berki
Vid Hidvegi
Attila Racz
Attila Vlacsil
Kieran Behan
Luke Carson
Christopher O'Connor
Rohan Sebastian
Andrew Smith
Felix Aronovich
Alexander Shatilov
Andrea Cingolani
Matteo Morandi
Paolo Ottavi
Paolo Principi
Lorenzo Ticchi
Vitalijs Kardasovs
Dmitrijs Trefilovs
Raimundas Burinskas
Vladislav Esaulov
Evgenij Izmodenov
Sascha Palgen
Oliver Waldbillig
Kevin Crovetto
Bart Deurloo
Anthony van Assche
Yuri van Gelder
Jeffrey Wammes
Epke Zonderland
Haakon Andreassen
Marcus Conradi
Lars Jorgen Fjeld
Joachim Hanche-Olsen
Stian Skjerahaug
Lukasz Borkowski
Adam Kierzkowski
Roman Kulesza
Marek Lyszczarz
Adam Rzepa
Luis Araujo
Manuel Campos
Bernardo Loy Da Graca
Ricardo Martins
Gustavo Simoes
Cristian Bataga
Marius Berbecar
Ovidiu Buidoso
Vlad Cotuna
Flavius Koczi
Denis Ablyazin
Alexander Balandin
David Belyavsky
Emin Garibov
Anton Golotsutskov
Sašo Bertoncelj
Žiga Britovšek
Alen Dimic
Rok Klavora
Mitja Petkovšek
Pablo Brägger
Pascal Bucher
Claudio Capelli
Nils Haller
Oliver Hegi
Samuel Piasecky
Semih Akdogan
Ferhat Arican
Coskun Boncuk
Umit Samiloglu
Ozgur Sanli
Nikolai Kuksenkov
Vitaly Nakonechny
Igor Radivilov
Oleg Stepko
Oleg Vernyayev
Junior Competitors
Vigen Khachatryan
Aram Movsisyan
Armen Petrosyan
Florian Braitsch
Dirk Kathan
Daniel Kopeinik
Severin Kranzlmüller
Johannes Mairoser
Maxime Gentges
Daan Kenis
Florian Landuyt
Bram Louwije
Jonathan Vrolix
Uladzislau Karpuk
Mikita Kavaliou
Aliaksei Kushneryk
Artsiom Tsiareshka
Dzmitry Zayats
Yordan Aleksandrov
Martin Angelov
Dragomir Peyev
Vladimir Tushev
Veliko Tushev
Andrei Korosteljev
Anton Kovacevic
Leonardo Kusan
Renato Prpic
Tin Srbic
Kallinikos Kallis
Michalis Krasias
Charalampos Melanarkitis
Christos Soleas
Ondrej Janeczko
David Kardos
Daniel Radovesnicky
Jakub Samsa
Radomir Sliz
Radek Smekal
Martin Taftl
Jacob Buus
Mathias Christiansen
Marcus Frandsen
Mathias Johansen
Stig Kjeldsen
Roberto Alvarez
Javier Hinojosa
Andres Martin
Julian Perez
Borja Torregrosa
Nico Jakovleva
Olli Kanerva
Aaro Lamberg
Heikki Saarenketo
Milo Siivonen
Edgar Boulet
Remi Clerc
Paul Degouy
Stephen Micholet
Oanthony Randrianasol
Frank Baines
Brinn Bevan
Gaius Thompson
Courtney Tulloch
Nile Wilson
Mike Hindermann
Tim Leibiger
Felix Pohl
Lukas Schlotterer
Daniel Weinert
Matzint Michail Al Zubeydi
Nikolaos Kranitis
Vasileios Tantalidis
Antonios Tantalidis
Georgios Votsis
Norbert Dudas
Botond Kardos
Laszlo Makra
Bank Selmeczi
Levente Vagner
Adam Dalton
Daniel Fox
Shane Lyndon
Jack Neil
Luke Pearce
Eythor Baldursson
Valgard Reinhardsson
Sigurdur Sigurdarson
Tom Arnon
Artem Dolgopyat
Eyal Glazer
Yair Hilel Shechter
Moran Yanuka
Nicola Bartolini
Simone Bresolin
Filippo Landini
Andrea Russo
Michele Sanvito
Germans Buculis
Aleksejs Pajada
Viaceslav Chanin
Tomas Kuzmickas
Ernestas Liaskinas
Robert Tvorogal
Karl Kosztka
Frank Rijken
Casimir Schmidt
Kaz Willer
Justen Zuidema
Arian Bedzeti-Olsen
Pietro Giachino
Odin Kalvo
Torry Andreasse Larsen
Oliver Frostad Udbye
Patryk Rabstajn
Bernardo Almeida
Vasco Barata
Tiago Barbosa
Pedro Dourado
Rafael Sá
Emanuel Badila
Andrei Groza
Adrian Popa
Daniel Radeanu
Andrei Savu
Vladislav Polyashov
Kirill Prokopev
Sergei Stepanov
Ivan Stretovich
Grigory Zyryanov
Luka Kisek
Peter Lampret
Matic Pecan
Miha Smigoc
Jure Weingerl
Bojan Dejanovic
Dusan Djordjevic
Gavrilo Ilic
Bozidar Marovic
Petar Velickovic
Christian Baumann
Henji Mboyo
Taha Serhani
Marco Walter
Eddy Yusof
Eduard Marcak
Ivan Vargovsky
Arsalan Chenarakipoor
Carl Green
Oskar Kirmes
Christopher Soos
Michael Trane
Abdulkadir Bas
Ibrahim Colak
Yunus Emre Gundogdu
Ahmet Onder
Hamza Samil Yilmaz
Volodymyr Grybuk
Vladyslav Kotsyuban
Ruslan Kulakhizov
Illya Yegorov
Eduard Yermakov
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