HOUSTON, May 23, 2008 – Paul Hamm fractured the fourth metacarpal on his right hand during his routine on the parallel bars on the first night of men’s competition at the 2008 Visa Championships in Houston. Hamm has withdrawn from the Visa Championships and will see a hand specialist next week.
“Normal recovery time for this type of fracture is 4-6 weeks,” said Dr. James Bicos, a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon with St. Vincent Sports Performance in Indianapolis. “That’s how long it takes a bone to heal.”
“We have decided the best course of action is to put in a screw. Now we are trying to decide which doctor will be the best,” said Miles Avery, Hamm’s personal coach. “If he can be back in four to five weeks, we think we can get him back to this level, which is high, and do very well.”
As outlined in the men’s Olympic selection procedures, the steps for athletes who are unable to compete in the selection process due to injury are: the opportunity to petition to the Men’s Program Committee to advance to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics; and if he is unable to compete in the Trials, he can petition to the Men’s Olympic Selection Committee for a spot on the Olympic team.
“Our selection procedures allow for a petition directly to the Olympic team for just this type of situation,” said Dennis McIntyre, men’s program director for USA Gymnastics.
The Olympic squad including replacement athletes, from which the final Olympic Team members will be named, will be announced on June 22. July 1 is the deadline for USA Gymnastics to submit the names of the six members of the Olympic team and any replacement athletes to the U.S. Olympic Committee. If an athlete’s petition to the Olympic team is accepted, he must prove competitive readiness at the Olympic Team preparation camp July 13-22 in Colorado Springs, Colo. If he fails to do so, he will be removed from the team at that time.
Hamm was leading the all-around at the Visa Championships after the first day of competition. In 2008, Hamm has won the all-around title in every event he has entered: the Winter Cup Challenge, the Tyson American Cup, and the Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships presented by Gillette Venus.
“This is an unfortunate development in Paul’s comeback,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “He has demonstrated repeatedly that he can perform at the highest level, so we look forward to knowing more once the injury has been fully diagnosed.”
Men’s Olympic selection time line
May 24: men advance to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics
June 21: two members of the U.S. Olympic Team will be named at the end of the men’s competition at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics
June 22: the balance of the Olympic squad including replacement athletes, from which the final Olympic Team members will be named by July 1, will be named following the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics
July 1: Deadline for submitting nominations for the six men on the Olympic team and any replacement athletes to the U.S. Olympic Committee
July 13-22: Olympic preparation camp