While one comeback will be buried a while longer, another one rises to the surface.
Paul Hamm’s withdrawal from the upcoming Winter Cup is certainly a big disappointment, but at the same time I would rather him get any surgeries he may need now rather than later this year or next year. Torn labrums are very common in gymnastics – especially among the men – and hopefully he can recover from this in time to make worlds later this year. I guess we just won’t get to enjoy the same spring season we saw from Paul in 2008…that will have to wait until next year.
Amidst Paul’s announcement that his comeback to competition will be postponed, another one of America’s female stars has emerged from relative obscurity over the past two years and will be competing THIS weekend at an invitational meet in Indianapolis, Indiana. It’s 2005 world all-around champion and 2008 Olympian Chellsie Memmel!
Chellsie is so classy. I think it’s so admirable the way she always remains out of the limelight when she’s not competing, but when she does compete, she’s always legit. She’s just never been one to steal the spotlight from the gymnasts who ARE competing while she’s still making up her mind about the sport, and she’s always completely upfront about where she stands. Since Beijing, she’s made no secret about the fact that she’s completely undecided about her future in gymnastics. Her 2009 national beam performances were quite impressive considering her limited commitment to training at the time, and since then she’s really just kind of drifted into the shadows of the current American stars, the exciting Russian gymnasts, and the glamorized comebacks of Alicia Sacramone, Shawn Johnson, and Nastia Liukin. I think many of us suspected she had the heart and passion for the sport to make yet another competitive return, but I love the way she doesn’t really announce it until she’s actually competing in a competition. It’s much more exciting and “real” that way, and it prevents the disappointments that often accompany failed comebacks and false promises. What outstanding character this athlete has.
She’ll supposedly be competing tomorrow (Saturday, January 22nd) on vault, bars, and beam in the Circle of Stars Invitational in Indianapolis, a qualifying event for the Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup. I don’t know if Chellsie intends to compete at the Supergirl Cup, but rather may just be using this meet as her entryway back into the sport. Even though this meet is just a stepping stone for her, it will tell a whole lot about what kind of shape she is in and whether she looks capable of contending for a spot on this year’s U.S. world team. She certainly would be a welcome addition to the American bars lineup later this year if she’s at or above her 2008 form.
London 2012 has undoubtedly begun to ignite a fire among several of our 2008 Olympians on both the men’s and women’s sides. Who will be next?