PHILADELPHIA (AP) Paul Hamm is going to his third Olympics, and he never had to do a routine.
The reigning Olympic gold medalist, who missed this week's trials with a broken hand, was selected for the U.S. team for the Beijing Games on Saturday afternoon, along with Jonathan Horton. The rest of the six-man team and/or a training squad will be announced Sunday afternoon.
"It's strange. It doesn't feel the same as it would for Jonathan," said Hamm, who still has to show he's physically ready to compete at a July 22 training camp. "I understand where the committee stands, and I feel I can do the job they want me to do. But it's definitely a little bittersweet for me."
Hamm is three weeks removed from surgery to repair a broken fourth metacarpal in his right hand, which occurred in the closing seconds of his parallel bars routine at the national championships. It will be another two weeks before he can do "moderate" gymnastics.
But putting him on the team was a no-brainer. He is the only American man to win the world title (2003) and Olympic gold medal (2004), and had firmly established himself as a favorite to defend his title in Beijing.
Despite a 2 1/2-year layoff unheard of in elite gymnastics he had been better than ever this year. He won every competition he entered, and finished the first day of nationals with an almost four-point lead, a huge margin in a sport where medals are decided by tenths and hundredths of points.
"I am so pumped and excited to be on this Olympic team and stand next to Paul Hamm, who I consider to be one of the best ever," Horton said. "To represent the United States with him ... it's going to be incredible."