INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., July 28, 2008 - Paul Hamm of Waukesha, Wis., today officially notified USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee that he was resigning from the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team for men's gymnastics.
"I have put my heart and soul into my comeback and done everything I could to get ready in time to compete in Beijing," said Hamm, who won the all-around title at the 2004 Olympic Games and is recovering from a broken hand. "After returning home from the preparation camp, I had a few physical setbacks, and it became clear to me that my physical preparations would not be sufficient to properly represent the United States and contribute to the team's efforts to win a medal. I recently strained my rotator cuff and have been unable to perform all of my skills. I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to make a comeback. At this point in time, the success of the team and fairness to the team, and the alternates, is most important. While I am very disappointed, I feel I can wait no longer to make this decision."
Hamm began his return to competitive gymnastics in August 2007 after a nearly three-year layoff after the 2004 Games to complete his education. In 2008, he won the all-around title at the Winter Cup Challenge, Tyson American Cup and Pacific Rim Championships presented by Gillette Venus. Hamm broke his fourth metacarpal on May 22 during the Visa Championships and successfully petitioned to the Olympic Team in June. He demonstrated his competitive readiness on July 19 to the men's selection committee, and the men's preparation camp concluded on July 22.
"We admire Paul for making this difficult decision," said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. "Paul's comeback this year has been phenomenal, made even more impressive following the injury to his hand. He has raised the level of determination among the entire team to put forth a medal winning effort in China. We respect his decision at this time, which is being made to serve the best interests of all of the athletes involved.
Statement from United States Olympic Committee Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr on Decision of Paul Hamm to Withdraw from 2008 Olympic Games
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - "Paul Hamm is a great Olympic champion who has conducted himself with honor and integrity throughout his career.
"His inspiring comeback to win the Olympic gold medal in 2004 was one of the signature moments of the Athens Olympic Games. Equally inspiring is the manner by which Paul worked to try to regain his full competitive form for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
"Through his determination, perseverance and courage, Paul has set an example that will lift his teammates in Beijing."