Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of both Paul and Morgan Hamm. When Paul won the All Around gold medal at the 2003 World Championships, I came unglued. It was one of my rare opportunities to see a live event and Paul Hamm sure delivered one exciting show. Even my husband jumped out of his seat when Paul landed his High Bar dismount. And 2004… I know it was tainted by all the controversy but Paul’s performance goes down as one of my all-time favorites. It was the best comeback of all time. Even my parent’s were in tears, who came to visit just to watch the Olympics with me. It was magic.

Paul (left)  & Morgan (right) in Athens

Many feel (rightly) that Morgan is overshadowed by Paul but it’s important to note that Morgan is an exceptional gymnast in his own right. Although he has been hampered by injuries, he has been a major contributor to the US Men’s Team in countless ways. It’s true that he has not enjoyed the same limelight as his brother but anyone in the gymnastics world would tell you that Morgan is just as valuable an asset to the US team as Paul.

After the 2004 Olympic Games both Hamms decided to take some time off to focus on school and reevaluate their desire to compete. Last week, after a two+ year hiatus, the brothers have announced their intent to each make a competitive comeback. While I am absolutely thrilled to hear that they will be returning to competition, I was left with a few questions…

  1. Is their motivation for the comeback a deep love for the sport? If, say, they do not win another medal on the world stage, will it have been worth it because they love the sport and competing so much that they couldn’t imagine spending their time any other way? I hope so.
  2. With Paul & Morgan announcing their plan to return as strong leaders for the U.S. Men’s Team, will that discourage other athletes from stepping up to the plate? I suppose there will be no way to know. I’d enjoy seeing Todd Thorton, Sean Townsend, Sasha Artemov, Jonathan Horton, and others grow into leaders as well. I hope they rise to the occasion, that they make a name for themselves despite the attention that the Hamms will inevitably get.
  3. I realize that it was probably just poor timing but it irks me a little that it was right after the poor showing of the US Men’s Team in Aarhus, that the Hamm brothers announce that they will be coming back to compete for the United States. The timing makes it seem like they are planning to come in to save the poor team. Like I said, I doubt this is the case. I don’t think they are arrogant enough to have that mentality. But the timing makes me wonder. Perhaps they will comment on this post and answer these questions.

So those are some things that came to mind when I heard the official announcement. What was your response to the news? If you haven’t seen it yet, check out their website. In addition to their video announcement, it has some fun clips of their training.

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