2004 Olympic silver-medalist McClure retires from competitive gymnastics
posted on 05/25/2006
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – 2004 Olympic silver-medalist Brett McClure of Colorado Springs, Colo., has announced his retirement from competitive gymnastics. A member of the U.S. National Team for 12 years and Team Chevron since its inception, McClure was a key player in the U.S. Men’s Team’s success at the 2004 Olympic Games, where the squad captured the silver medal for the U.S. men’s best Olympic finish since the 1984 Olympic Games.

"This was a very difficult decision for me," said McClure, who is originally from Mill Creek, Wash. "First, I want to thank everyone at USA Gymnastics. My success would not have been possible without their support, from Bob Colarossi, Steve Penny and Ron Galimore to the men’s program staff and committee to our sponsors. I also want to thank Vitaly Marinitch for his guidance; he is definitely one of the best coaches in the world. I am thankful that he was a major part of all my success for the past five years. Chevron made it possible for me, and all of us, to train, travel and compete without having to get a part-time job. Chevron allowed me to focus 100 percent on gymnastics."

"Since the Olympics, retiring has crossed my mind off and on even though I had an unbelievable motivation to come back, improve and maybe get a medal," said McClure, who recently married 1996 Olympic gold-medalist Jaycie Phelps. "The last couple of years have been tough, coming back from injuries, and I always want to go out and do better than before. I think the time is right for me to give my body a chance to heal. While one chapter of my life is finishing, another chapter is just beginning and getting better. I recently got married, and I want to spend more time with my family. I also have a great job opportunity, which I cannot address at this point, but is a good next step for me. My wife and family are behind me 100 percent. All of the pieces of the puzzle have fallen in place for me and made a great career."

Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics, said, "On behalf of USA Gymnastics, I want to wish him the best on his new opportunities and to thank him for his dedication and long-time commitment to gymnastics. Brett has been an important part of the men’s program’s success since 2000. He was a member of every team that won an international medal in the last quadrennium. His ability on all six apparatus and his willingness to do whatever is asked are just some of the things that have made him such a valuable asset. We hate to see him leave the competitive arena because he is still one of the best gymnasts in the world."


"On a personal note, I have enjoyed getting to know and working with Brett," said Penny. "He is a wonderful person who has always wanted to give something back to his sport. This is a part of his nature, and I am confident Brett will continue to contribute to gymnastics in the coming years."

Ron Galimore, USA Gymnastics vice president of Olympic relations, events and men’s program, said, "As the men’s program director, I had the opportunity to see Brett grow from a promising junior gymnast into one of the world’s best. Brett is one of a few gymnasts that helped transform the U.S. men’s program into one that earned medals on the world and Olympic stage. He was an integral part of our successful shift from ninth place more than 10 years ago to second in the world. We will miss having him as part of our team, but I also know he will be a great asset in his future endeavors."

"Brett has proven to be an effective and accomplished international competitor throughout his career," said Dennis McIntyre, who is currently men’s program director and worked with McClure over the years as the Junior National Team Coordinator and part of the coaching staff at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. "Brett was certainly a big factor in the success of the men’s program in the last quadrennium. Beyond that, Brett has always been a good leader, role model and ambassador for the sport of gymnastics. I want to congratulate him on a very successful and distinguished career as a competitive athlete. I am very pleased to hear that he intends to stay active in the sport in other capacities."

Ron Brant, the men’s national team coordinator, said, "I have worked with Brett since he first came to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in 1997, and he will definitely be missed. Brett is one of the guys that helped to take us to the top in 2001 and get the USA’s first world medal since 1983. He is one of just two guys that was part of our success in 2001, 2003 and 2004. Brett had the all-around meet of his life in the finals at the Olympic Games, which was a great accomplishment and definitely a highlight of his career. Brett’s strength is that he was such a consistent competitor for us, and his ability to successfully ‘hit’ his routines at the world and Olympic levels was impressive. Brett’s leadership on the floor was tremendous. He was a leader through his actions rather than by giving a pep talk. That is what we will miss."

In addition to the silver team medal, McClure qualified for the all-around finals at the 2004 Olympic Games. McClure also was a member of the team that earned the silver medal at both the 2001 and 2003 World Championships. He also won the parallel bars title at the 2004 World Cup event in Rio de Janeiro. McClure was the U.S. pommel horse champion in both 2001 and 2004. Leading into the 2004 Olympic Games, he was second in the all-around at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, 2004 Visa Championships, 2002 Pacific Alliance Championships and 2001 U.S. Championships, as well as winning the all-around and high bar titles and sharing the pommel horse gold medal at the 2003 Winter Cup. He has won numerous other medals, both domestically and internationally. Recovery from elbow surgery precluded his competing throughout most of 2005.

Brett McClure at a glance


2004 Olympic silver-medal team
2004 U.S. pommel horse champion, all-around silver medalist
2003 World Artistic Championships Team silver medalist
2002 Individual Event World Championships Team member
2001 World Artistic Championships Team silver medalist
2001 Goodwill Games pommel horse bronze medalist


Hometown:
Mill Creek, Wash.
Residence: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Birth Date/Place: Feb. 19, 1981; Yakima, Wash.
Club: Team Chevron
Trains: U.S. Olympic Training Center
Coach: Vitaly Marinitch
Began Gymnastics: 1990
Years on Jr. National Team: 5 (1994-99)
Years on Sr. National Team: 7 1/2 (1999-05, Fall '05, 2006)

Competition highlights

2006

Winter Cup, Las Vegas: 4T, AA; 2, HB

2004