The big story at Championships 2007 was the return of Paul and Morgan Hamm.
Morgan, in particular, looked good. But both had problems on the two events they competed.
Here’s the first news story on the web after the meet:
Hamms show flashes of old selves
By NANCY ARMOUR
SAN JOSE, Calif. —
Paul and Morgan Hamm aren’t yet the gymnasts they were the last time they were on the floor.
Then again, the U.S. men aren’t what they were in 2004, either.
Competing for the first time since the Athens Olympics, the Hamms showed why they were among the best in the world. But it was clear they are still working their way back into competitive form.
“First one’s out of the way,” Paul said afterward.
Paul, the Olympic champion, scored a 15.7 on floor that was not only best in the event, but among the highest of the competition. Morgan was solid on floor until he under-rotated his final tumbling pass, needing to take a few steps to steady himself. Even with the error, he scored a 14.950 that put him in eighth place.
Both got hung up on the pommel horse, and neither cracked 14.0, which is not a world-level score under the new scoring system.
At least they have an excuse. The rest of the men at the U.S. gymnastics championships have been working for three years, and had very little to show for it that will scare China, Japan or Romania.
David Durante had a few nice routines, Kevin Tan was spectacular on the still rings and Sasha Artemev looks good even when he’s faltering. Durante and Artemev were tied for the lead going into Friday night’s final competition. Other than that, though, there were too many spills and splats from guys who are expected to be leading the way.
Which explains why everyone was so eager for the Hamms to come back. …
The Hamms will not be competing at Worlds in 3 weeks. USA will need to finish in the top 12 nations without the Hamm experience and reputation.
But I’m a little more optimistic than most in San Jose. I expect the US to qualify for Beijing as a team without much problem. They simply need to put together a team based on who can hit routines CONSISTENTLY.
The Sr Men have actually improved since Championships last year.
To the contenders listed above, I’d add these names to those who could count at Worlds 2007 for the USA: Jonathan Horton, Sho Nakamuri, Guillermo Alverez, Yewki Tomita and even young Steven Legendre (WOGA). I list those who could score on a minimum of 3 apparatus.
There are other specialists, of course. But I doubt the US can afford to name anyone unable to do a minimum of 3 strong events.
full RESULTS of the Men’s Jr and Sr Preliminaries (UPDATED link)