NEW YORK, March 28 (BSS/AFP) - Paul Hamm, the American who captured 2004 Athens Olympic all-around men's gymnastics gold, announced his retirement from the sport Tuesday after ending his bid to qualify for this year's Olympics.
Hamm was the first US man to win world and Olympic all- around titles, taking the worlds in 2003 and the Athens title over South Korean runner-up Kim Dae-Eun after a protest on a scoring error that was decided by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
"I have decided to stop training in competitive gymnastics
and end my efforts as a potential member of the 2012 Olympic team," Hamm said in a statement.
"My career has far exceeded my expectations. I will always have gymnastics in my heart."
Hamm, a three-time US all-around champion, helped the US men take a team silver medal at Athens and he claimed a silver on the horizontal bar.
"Paul's achievements in gymnastics and contributions to the men's program were significant in helping the United States emerge as a world power," USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny said.