By Alan Abrahamson – 3wiresports.com
It was just a couple days before the start of last month’s gymnastics world championships that Paul Hamm, the 2004 Athens Games all-around gold medalist, moved into the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
His sky-blue Acura TSX, the one with Wisconsin plates, pulled up to the center, in Colorado Springs, Colo., and thus launched the most anticipated comeback in U.S. men’s gymnastics history.
Bring on London and 2012, because with a healthy Paul Hamm on board, the U.S. men – who finished fourth in the team competition at the 2010 worlds – immediately become contenders, and not just to place but to win.
Paul turned 28 in September. He will be closing in on 30 in the summer of 2012. If he can stay healthy, he will – appropriately – be seen as a medal favorite in the all-around and in a number of individual events as well.
Understand: If he were to never make another appearance in red, white and blue, Paul Hamm has already secured his place in gymnastics history. He is the first American male to win the Olympic all-around (2004); he is also the first American male to win the all-around at the world championships (2003).
This comeback, though, could secure his legacy as not just one of the greatest American gymnasts ever; he could be the greatest. Indisputably, unequivocally – the greatest.