INDIANAPOLIS – U.S. gymnast Paul Hamm will receive the bronze medal for floor exercise from the 2002 World Championships in Debrecen, Hungary following the suspension today of Spain’s Gervasio Deferr for a positive doping result.
In a statement released today by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), the FIG Disciplinary Commission decided to exclude Deferr from international competition for a period of three months, dating back to Oct. 19, 2002. Deferr’s results achieved at two World Cup events and the World Championships will be nullified. Deferr did not appeal the suspension.
“I’m really happy with the decision. I feel it’s the right decision, and I had confidence that the FIG would do what was necessary,” an elated Hamm said via cell phone from his gym in West Allis, Wis. “I was very pleased with my floor performance at worlds. I felt all along that I was a contender for a medal. Of course, it doesn’t feel quite the same as if had received the bronze at the meet, but to receive a World Championships medal is a great honor.”
Deferr won the silver medal on the floor exercise at the 2002 Worlds, followed by Jordan Jovtchev of Bulgaria in third, and Hamm in fourth. As a result of the decision, which upholds a three-month suspension previously issued by the Spanish Federation in March, Jovtchev, who trains at Houston Gymnastics Academy, will be elevated to the silver medal and Hamm to bronze.
The timing of the medal presentation has yet to be determined. The medal is Hamm’s first individual World Championships medal. He previously won a team silver medal at the 2001 World Championships in Ghent, Belgium.
Hamm, the two-time U.S. National Champion, becomes the fourth U.S. medalist at the 2002 Worlds. Team USA’s Courtney Kupets won gold on the uneven bars, Ashley Postell won gold on the beam, and Samantha Sheehan took home a bronze on the women’s floor exercise.
Hamm hopes to improve on his 2002 placement at the upcoming 2003 World Championships, Aug. 16-24 in Anaheim, Calif. The 2003 Worlds at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim will award individual event gold medals as well as team titles in both men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics disciplines. The World Championships also serve as the only route for athletes and countries to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games.
ndividual ticket prices range from $22-$75. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com, the Arrowhead Pond box office, by phone at 714-740-2000, and at all Ticketmaster outlets.
The World Championships will be televised nationally on NBC Sports on Aug. 23 and 24 from 2-4 p.m. EST, plus one hour of primetime coverage from 7-8 p.m. Aug. 24.