Jun 21 Horton, Paul Hamm nominated to 2008 U.S. Olympic Team

June 21, 2008, 9:43 p.m. (ET)

PHILADELPHIA, Pa., June 21, 2008 - 2004 Olympic all-around champion Paul Hamm of Waukesha, Wis., and Jonathan Horton of Houston, Texas, were nominated to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Men's Gymnastics Team following the conclusion of the men's competition at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Gymnastics, held at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pa. The balance of the squad will be nominated to the U.S. Olympic Team tomorrow, pending approval from the U.S. Olympic Committee. The final day of the women's competition at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Gymnastics is tomorrow at 6 p.m. ET.

"I've worked my whole life for this, to make the Olympic Team," said Horton, who competes for Team Chevron. "All of these athletes have pushed me to where I'm at today. I was just having fun out there today. I'm more confident with my gymnastics then I've ever been before."

Horton finished first in the weighted, combined all-around rankings from the Visa Championships and U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Gymnastics. Hamm broke the fourth metacarpal in his right hand on the first day of competition at the 2008 Visa Championships, May 22-24 in Houston, and filed a petition to the Olympic Team, which was accepted.

"I have a lot of work to do to get healthy and show the committee I'm ready," said Hamm, who competes for Team Chevron.

The five-man men's selection committee named both Horton and Hamm to the team after no athlete met the minimum requirements for automatic qualification, as outlined in the selection procedures. To be automatically named to the team, an athlete needed to finish in the top two in the combined, weighted all-around rankings from the two selection events, as well as place in the top three of six events using the combined results.

"We will pick the team with the best potential for success based on how they have performed," said Dennis McIntyre, senior men's program director for USA Gymnastics. "No one met the automatic selection criteria. The selection committee met in advance and we had a game plan for what we would look for and consider in the event no one automatically qualified. We will meet tonight and tomorrow to review the results, look at scores, look at what each can contribute to the team and run through all of the scenarios to see what combination of men will give us the best team."

Horton earned 90.750 points in the overall Olympic selection rankings, followed by Joseph Hagerty of Rio Rancho, N.M./Team Chevron, in second with 89.940 points and Raj Bhavsar of Houston/Team Chevron in third at 89.860.

"There was nothing more I could have given or done," Bhavsar said. "I turned my life around almost a year ago and said I am going to do this."

"I did all I could out there," Hagerty said. "It is all up to the committee right now. Whoever they put on it, this team is going to do a fantastic job."

Horton finished first in tonight's all-around competition with a score of 91.650. David Durante of Garwood, N.J./Team Chevron, was second with a 90.950 and Bhavsar was third with a 90.200.

After four rotations, Hagerty was leading the weighted all-around standings with a score of 81.660, followed by Bhavsar with an 81.235 and Horton with an 81.210. In the fifth rotation, Horton posted a 16.100 for his handspring double front vault, and moved into first place in the weighted rankings with an 86.055. Hagerty's 13.500 on pommel horse dropped him to second with 85.710 points, and Bhavsar was third with an 85.435.

The high scores of the day were: Sean Golden of Camden, N.J., on floor exercise, 15.700, and vault, 16.400; Durante on pommel horse, 15.050; Kevin Tan of Fremont, Calif., on still rings, 16.550; Raj Bhavsar on parallel bars, 15.700; and Morgan Hamm on horizontal bars, 15.500.

Tickets are still available for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Gymnastics, and may be purchased online at ComcastTIX.com, by phone at 1-800-298-4200, or at the Wachovia Center Box Office. Visa is the only card accepted for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Gymnastics.

 

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