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Olympic Gold medalist, Paul Hamm, was born on September 24, 1982 in Washburn, Wisconsin. Hamm is a USA artistic gymnast. He is a World Champion gymnast and three-time Olympic medalist, winning the all-around competition at the 2004 Olympic Games.
In 2003, Paul Hamm became the first American man to win the all-around title at the world championships. He competed at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, alongside his twin brother Morgan. He won the silver medal in the team event and was awarded gold in the individual all-around competition, becoming the only American man in Olympic history to win the gold medal in that event.
Hamm held a good position after three rounds, but a disastrous fall on the vault, in which he nearly fell into the judges' bench, dropped him to 12th place and he looked to be completely out of the running for a medal of any sort. Indeed, had a judge and the bench not been able to break Hamm's fall, he might have fallen from the podium and sustained injury. However, numerous faults by the other gymnasts, combined with Hamm's performance on the parallel bars, returned him to fourth place after the fifth rotation. His high bar routine gained him a score of 9.837, winning him the gold medal by a margin of .012, the closest in Olympic Gymnastics history. His scores on the six disciplines were:
Floor: 9.725 (1st)
Pommel Horse: 9.700 (4th)
Rings: 9.587 (8th)
Vault: 9.137 (12th)
Parallel Bars: 9.837 (1st)
Horizontal bar: 9.837 (1st)
Overall: 57.823 (1st)
Hamm also nearly won the Gold on the Horizontal bar at the 2004 Olympics but was awarded the silver after a tiebreaker.
Paul and Morgan Hamm took some time off after the Olympics to focus on school at The Ohio State University. They announced in February 2007 that they would return to competitive gymnastics, starting at the 2007 U.S. Championships, also known as the Visa Championships, after their title sponsor. The brothers also competed several times in SASUKE (currently airing on G4 as Ninja Warrior), a Japanese sports challenge show. Both have made it at least to the second round. In March 2008, Paul won the American Cup held in New York City. This was the first time he won this competition and performed with a strong showing.
On May 22 Paul Hamm competed on the first day of the 2008 U.S. Championships, but was forced to withdraw after day one after injuring his hand. During his routine on the parallel bars he fractured the fourth metacarpal of his right hand. Orthopedic surgery five days later placed a titanium plate and nine screws in his hand and Paul was not cleared to return to gymnastics until July 3. After sitting out the Olympic Trials, he was named to the 2008 Olympic Team on a provisional basis depending on his recovery. On July 19 he secured his spot on the 2008 team by participating in an intersquad meet and performed in all six events, only slightly modifying his routines to prevent aggravation of his injury.
On July 28 Paul announced his withdrawal from the United States Olympic gymnastics team due to persistent pain in his right hand and a new injury to his left shoulder from his accelerated recovery efforts. He was replaced on the team by Raj Bhavsar. He has indicated that he will permanently retire from the sport.
Almost immediately after the 2004 competition, Hamm's gold in the Men's all-around event was called into doubt due to a scoring issue.
The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) ruled that South Korean bronze medalist Yang Tae Young was incorrectly given a start value of 9.9 instead of 10.0 in the parallel bars event during the all-around final. The 0.100 point omitted from Yang's start value in parallel bars, determined by the difficulty of the routine, was because the judges believed Yang had performed a move called a "morisue" instead of a "belle" during his routine. The difference in difficulty between those two moves -- the 0.100 point -- was the difference between third and first, and, therefore, between the bronze medal and the gold medal. The FIG suspended three judges but said the results would not be changed. The long-standing "Rules of Play" doctrine has prohibited sports officials from changing after a competition the decisions of officials during the competition.