Yesterday, gymnast Morgan Hamm was eager to learn that his twin brother, Paul, was thinking of joining him in Beijing to provide support.
Now, neither of them will be competing in the Olympics. Morgan Hamm withdrew with a left ankle injury, USA Gymnastics announced in a statement released at 5 a.m. Eastern time. Talented but error-prone all-around contender Sasha Artemev was chosen to replace Morgan Hamm on the roster instead of David Durante.
“I have been dealing with this for the last year, and it recently has gotten worse here in Beijing,” said Hamm, a two-time Olympian. “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. There are two very capable athletes who can step in and help this team more than I can right now.”
The defending all-around gold medalist, Paul Hamm, withdrew from the team July 28 due to complications from a broken right hand and a strained left shoulder. That left Morgan as the sole veteran on a team left hoping for perfection to challenge for more than bronze.
“Morgan’s dedication to helping the USA claim a team medal for the second straight Olympics has been exemplary,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “He has done every thing he could to contribute to this team, and we appreciate his efforts. We also appreciate his putting the team’s best interests first. He has once again demonstrated why he is a champion.”