Hand Will Keep Gymnast Hamm From Beijing

Break won't heal in time for US star to defend '04 all-around gold
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 28, 2008 1:07 PM CDT
Olympic champion Paul Hamm shows off his hand during a press conference before the men's first day of competition at the US Olympic gymnastics trials, June 19, 2008, in Philadelphia.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Paul Hamm will not be going to the Beijing Olympics to defend his all-around gold medal, the US gymnast announced today, because his broken right hand has not healed sufficiently. He also hurt his rotator cuff in his accelerated recovery effort. "I have put my heart and soul into my comeback and done everything I could to get ready in time to compete in Beijing," Hamm said in a statement.

One of the alternates—Sasha Artemev, David Durante and Raj Bhavsar—will take his place. The injury makes China's Yang We, a two-time world champion, the all-around favorite in the competition. Hamm—the only American man to win the world (2003) and Olympic (2004) titles—broke his hand May 22 at the national championships, just 11 weeks before the start of the Games.