A for Athlete


  • only American man to win a world title (2003) or Olympic gold (2004)
  • Gold medal winning at the Olympics in Gymnastics.
  • Broke the fourth metacarpal in his right hand in early 2008
  • Took 2½ years off between Olympics, before Beijing.
  • Took himself off of the United States (also known as USA) Flag of the United States.svg Men's Gymnastics team in July 2008, before the 2008 Olympics due to injury: broken hand in May 2008 and torn rotator cuff muscle.


  • "There's no guarantees, no matter what," Hamm said, his right hand and wrist encased in a blue cast. "The only thing I can do at this point is make an attempt, try and see what happens. I don't really even know exactly what the game plan is going to be until I talk to the doctors.

"It's going to be a push," he added. "But if anybody can do it, I can pull it off."



Injury in 2011

Olympic champ Paul Hamm needs shoulder surgery, 01/17/11. The surgery is to repair a torn labrum, but still intends to compete at the London Games. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/more/01/17/paul.hamm.surgery.ap/index.html

Injury in 2008

Hamm has hand surgery; optmistic for Beijing 05/27/08 -- COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The first step in Olympic gold medalist Paul Hamm's recovery is already done. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/olympics/05/27/hamm.surgery.ap/index.html

Hamm broke the bone in his right hand in May 2008 when he jammed his ring finger in the closing seconds of his parallel bars routine at the U.S. championships.

He'll have to petition for a spot on the Beijing squad because he'll miss the Olympic trials in Philadelphia. Provided he is healthy, USA Gymnastics is almost sure to grant the petition.



  • Joseph Hagerty, USA competitor in 2008
  • two-time world champion Yang Wei

"I felt I was in the best shape of my life at this past competition," Hamm said. "The meet was going really, really well. I had three skills left to finish in my parallel bars routine, and that's where the injury comes. It's kind of sad and ironic at the same time."

Hamm was flipping to do work on one rail when he caught one of his fingers. Coach Miles Avery likened it to stubbing a toe -- only with Hamm's entire body weight coming down on top of it. Hamm said he heard a "small popping sound," but initially hoped he'd only dislocated the finger and could be back in time for the US Gymanstics Olympic Trials, which start June 19, 2008.

The more he talked with doctors, though, he realized it was something worse.

"They were saying it's unlikely for that bone to dislocate and most likely what you've done is fractured it," Hamm said. "I was like, 'Oh, great."'

X-rays Friday confirmed it was a break, and there is some displacement of the bone. Although one option would be to simply leave him in a cast, surgery should allow him to start physical therapy and rehab earlier.

"It's a big disappointment just because, currently, my body is in the physical shape it needs to be minus a broken bone in my hand," he said. "At this point, I know I'm probably going to lose a little bit of muscle, at least in this arm, because of the atrophy. It's hard to stay in that shape I have been the past few weeks, so I'm going to have to drop back down and then rebuild going into Beijing, which is tough.

"I'll try to get back as soon as I possibly can," he added. "What I'll be doing in the meantime is trying to do as many exercises as possible to keep my body in top physical form. Whether that's leg strength, sit-ups -- I could potentially do some crosses and things on rings, who knows.

"I'll do what I can and use this time just to do that. But it's going to be a push."


Athens Olympics

Paul Hamm fell on vault and he dropped to 12th place with two events to go. He responded with the two best routines of his life to win the gold medal.


Paul Hamm not ruling Beijing Olympics out

05/24/08 http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/olympics/05/24/bc.oly.gym.uschampions.ap/index.html

HOUSTON (AP) -- Don't count Paul Hamm out.

Injury might force Hamm out of nationals

05/23/08 http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/more/05/23/hamm.injury.ap/index.html

Paul Hamm's stay at the top of the U.S. gymnastics championships might be a short one.