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Artemev Replaces Hamm on U.S. Team
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Two-time Olympian Morgan Hamm withdrew from the Olympics in Beijing on Thursday because of an ankle injury, and has been replaced by alternate Sasha Artemev.

"I have been dealing with this for the last year and it has gotten worse here in Beijing," Hamm said in a statement Thursday. "Right now I am unable to perform my tumbling skills at the level that I need to. This has an impact on my ability to contribute to the team's goals and I believe by continuing I would be putting myself at further risk."

During podium training on Wednesday in Beijing, Hamm's ankle was clearly bothering him. He tumbled only one pass on floor exercise, a 2 1/2 twist, and fell on it. He watered down on vault as well, performing a double-twisting Tsukahara instead of his usual 2 1/2.

U.S. men's head coach Kevin Mazeika said he needed to be able to see a full floor routine from Hamm during Thursday's practice.

"As we got closer to [Saturday's] team qualifications, I needed a go, no-go time to see if Morgan would be able to compete," Mazeika said. "His ankle basically would not respond in order to perform at the level that he needed to."

Hamm will be replaced by Artemev, who has been training in Beijing with fellow alternate David Durante. Artemev was the 2006 U.S. champion and the 2006 world championships bronze medalist on pommel horse.

"I'm ready to step in because that was my job as an alternate," said Artemev, a native of Belarus. "It's a tough position to be in, but Dave and I worked really hard. We pushed each other because we have to stay in shape. I'll definitely be ready on time. It's just an honor to be on this team and to be chosen."

The announcement comes 10 days after Hamm's twin, 2004 Olympic champion Paul Hamm, withdrew from the team because of his own injuries.

Both Hamms competed at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games. Morgan was a finalist on floor exercise in both Sydney and Athens.

Following the 2004 Olympics, where the U.S. men won the team silver and Paul Hamm won the all-around, the Hamms shelved gymnastics to concentrated on finishing school. They made a decision to return in early 2007, launching a Web site, makingtheolympics.com, with video blogs of their comeback.

The Hamms returned to competition at the 2007 U.S. Championships, performing two events each. Paul Hamm made a return to the all-around competition in 2008, easily winning the American Cup and Pacific Rim competitions. His comeback was derailed on May 22, however, when he suffered a broken right hand at the U.S. Championships in Houston.

Paul Hamm underwent surgery a few days later and successfully petitioned to the U.S. Olympic team. Morgan Hamm was named to the team following his performance at the U.S. Championships and the U.S. Olympic Trials in Philadelphia.

On July 3, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued a public warning to Morgan Hamm, announcing that he had tested positive in at the U.S. Championships for a glucocorticosteroid. Hamm had received the substance, which is not performance-enhancing, through an anti-inflammatory shot to his injured ankle. The substance is legal out of competition, but Hamm had failed to file the necessary paperwork for an in-competition exemption.

 

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