INDIANAPOLIS, March 27, 2012 – 2004 Olympic all-around champion Paul Hamm of Waukesha, Wis., today announced his retirement from competitive gymnastics. Hamm was the first U.S. man to win the World and Olympic all-around titles, and his career includes three Olympic and five World medals. He will enroll in the MBA program at Marquette University in the fall.
"I have decided to stop training in competitive gymnastics and end my efforts as a potential member of the 2012 Olympic Men's Gymnastics Team,” said Hamm in a statement. “My career has far exceeded my expectations. I hope I am remembered for my gymnastic accomplishments, and as a kind person. Gymnastics has given me so much and now it is my turn to give back. I will always have gymnastics in my heart, and I will continue to stay involved with the governing body and all aspects of the sport."
"Paul's achievements in gymnastics and contributions to the men's program were significant in helping the United States emerge as a world power," said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. "Becoming the World and Olympic all-around champion was an unprecedented accomplishment for our country. Not only did he enjoy individual success, but he also was a force in our team's success and raised the bar for men's gymnastics in the United States. We wish him the best of success at Marquette, and I am confident that he will continue to contribute in a meaningful way to USA Gymnastics and its success."
"Paul is one of the all-time greats of our sport, whose accomplishments will be very difficult to match," said Peter Vidmar, chairman of USA Gymnastics and 1984 Olympic gold medalist. "His ability to handle pressure at the highest level was so impressive to me. He has contributed much to the legacy of USA Gymnastics and will continue to contribute in many other ways. I wish him the very best in his future endeavors."
Hamm, a two-time Olympian, won the Olympic all-around gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. He also aided the U.S. men in claiming the team silver medal, the USA's first Olympic team medal since 1984, and went on to earn the horizontal bar silver medal. In 2003, Hamm won the World all-around title, a first for the U.S. men, and the floor exercise gold, as well as helped the men's team to the silver medal. His other World medals were the 2001 team silver medal and the 2002 floor exercise bronze.
In addition, Hamm accumulated three U.S. all-around titles (2002-04), along with two U.S. crowns each for floor exercise, pommel horse and horizontal bar, and one vault title. He also won the 2008 American Cup and the all-around title at three Pacific Rim Championships, along with several other individual and team medals. Hamm was a member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team, where he and his brother became the first twins to compete on the same Olympic team in gymnastics.
Hamm began and ended his gymnastics career at the Swiss Turners Gymnastics Academy. For the 2004 Olympic Games, he trained at Ohio State University, where he earned his accounting degree in 2007.