BEIJING, Aug. 7, 2008 - Alexander Artemev of Highlands Ranch, Colo., will replace Morgan Hamm on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team for men's gymnastics, pending approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee. Hamm resigned from the team earlier today because his injured ankle prevents him from fully participating in the team's efforts.
"Both Alex and David Durante (the USA's alternates) have done an incredible job of maintaining their readiness and being prepared to step in on a moment's notice if called upon," said Dennis McIntyre, director for men's program at USA Gymnastics. "The role of the alternate athlete is very difficult and both of these athletes have demonstrated their commitment to our Olympic team by staying well prepared. In this situation, we believe Alex is best suited to help the U.S. men's team pursue a team medal. We appreciate the dedication of both men and the fact they have maintained their competitive readiness."
"It's an honor to be on this team, but it's a shame that it had to happen this way with Morgan getting hurt," Artemev said. "He's a tremendous loss to this team. I'm ready to step in because that was my job as an alternate. 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."
Artemev won the pommel horse in the weighted combined rankings from the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Gymnastics and Visa Championships. He also finished fifth in the all-around. At the 2008 Visa Championships, he was second on the parallel bars. Earlier in the year, he was third in the all-around at the Winter Cup Challenge and then second in the all-around at the Tyson American Cup.
"Both David and Alex have done a lot to support this team effort," said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. "We are confident that Alex will add to the heart, drive and determination of this squad and the team will be a contender at the Games."
In addition to Artemev, the U.S. Olympic Team for men's gymnastics includes: Raj Bhavsar of Houston/Team Chevron; Joseph Hagerty of Rio Rancho, N.M./Team Chevron; Jonathan Horton of Houston/Team Chevron; Justin Spring of Burke, Va./Team Chevron; and Kevin Tan of Fremont, Calif./Team Chevron. The replacement athlete is Durante of Garwood, N.J./Team Chevron. Both Morgan and Paul Hamm resigned from the team due to physical limitations.