Paul Hamm
© Getty Images Donald Miralle

LAS VEGAS, Nev., Feb 7, 2008 – 2004 Olympic all-around champion Paul Hamm of Waukesha, Wis., leads after the first day of competition at the Winter Cup Challenge at the Las Vegas Sports Center in Las Vegas, Nev. He posted a total score of 92.800 points, followed by Raj Bhavsar of Houston in second and Alexander Artemev of Morrison Colo., in third with scores of 89.000 and 88.900, respectively.

“I don’t think I’ve peaked yet,” said Hamm, who is competing in the all-around for the first time since the 2004 Olympic Games. “I’m in pretty good shape. If I do this well at the Visa Championships, I’ll be satisfied.”

Based on the results and a points-ranking system, the top 42 gymnasts from the qualification round advanced to the finals, scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Pacific Time on Feb. 9. Scores from both days of competition count toward the final rankings for the all-around and individual events.

The Winter Cup Challenge serves as a re-ranking competition for the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team. Based on performance at the Winter Cup Challenge, seven gymnasts will be named to the senior national team at the conclusion of the event on Saturday. The seven members of the 2007 World Championship Team, which placed fourth in the team standings, automatically retain their national team status.

Tickets are available at the Las Vegas Sports Center. One-day admission for all sessions is $20 per person. An all-event pass with admission to all sessions, including the finals, may be purchased for $40 per adult and $30 per child/student. There is no reserved seating.