I’M SHOCKED!!! But I’m also growing more excited by the minute, after just hearing the news from my brother about one hour ago.
I wondered for quite some time how in the world a champion like Paul Hamm could have felt okay about ending his career with the disappointment in 2008. His comeback for the Beijing Olympics was one of the most superhuman efforts I’ve ever seen by an athlete. He almost single-handedly transformed the outlook for our U.S. team from an outside medal contender to a threat for the team gold, not to mention the fact that he practically reemerged from nowhere as one of the best all-around gymnasts in the world…as if the 3-and-a-half-year layoff from competition he took had only been 3-and-a-half days. And now he’s doing it again.
I can’t say that his desire to return to the sport surprises me, considering his physical abilities have only seemed to mature with his age, and the fact that more Olympic medals were at his fingertips before his untimely hand injury occurred at the 2008 Visa U.S. Championships. What DOES surprise me is the fact that he has obviously been in training for some time now – COMPLETELY UNDER THE RADAR! Has the gymnastics media been so consumed by the potential comebacks of Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin that it has completely missed the fact that the greatest American male gymnast of all time actually IS coming back?
In case you haven’t seen the video of one of Paul’s recent training sessions from May of this year, you need to check it out below:
Unbelievable. He practically looks like he could compete in just a few weeks! No, he isn’t at Olympic champion caliber status yet, but boy did the next two years just change dramatically for U.S. men’s gymnastics!
I’ll post more later on Paul Hamm, but just wanted to get this post out there, as this is truly some incredible breaking news.