© John Cheng

2008 U.S. all-around champion David Sender of Arlington Heights, Ill., officially declined his position on the U.S. Men’s National Team and the 2009 World Championships Team in the weeks following the conclusion of the 2009 Visa Championships. A recent graduate of Stanford University, Sender is currently pursuing a degree at the College of Veterinary Science at the University of Illinois.

Below is Sender’s official statement regarding his retirement.

“It was with a heavy heart that I officially announced my retirement at Visa Championships this year,” said Sender. “I spent countless hours pondering the decision between pursuing my dreams in gymnastics or moving on to the other passion in my life, veterinary medicine. The decision obviously was not an easy one. Either decision included the risk of having to give up the other passion.

“After the competition, I was still named to both the national and world teams due to my performance during the two days of competition; however, I officially declined both of those positions about one week later to pursue veterinary school at the University of Illinois. Because veterinary school is a very intensive program, I knew I would not be able to travel as a member of the world team and still satisfy my school requirements. I also declined my position on the national team because I thought it would be unfair to take up a position when I had no intention of competing for at least the next six months.

“It has been an absolute honor to represent and compete for the United States, and I would not trade the memories or experiences that I have had in the sport for anything in the world. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone who has supported me over the years, and I wish all the future competitors the best of luck. Go USA!”

Statement from USA Gymnastics

“We wish David all the success in the world,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “We know this is not an easy decision. We look forward to following his progress through veterinary school and keeping him as part of the USA Gymnastics family for years to come.”