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Morgan Hamm Cleared For Olympics

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Morgan Hamm Cleared For Olympics

By Associated Press

LAUSANNE, Switzerland - International gymnastics officials won't disrupt Morgan Hamm's trip to the Beijing Olympics. The International Gymnastics Federation said Tuesday it will not appeal Hamm's punishment by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee already had said the warning did not affect Hamm's spot on the team for the Beijing Games. The gymnast was on his way Tuesday to San Jose, Calif., to go through processing with the rest of the American men. The U.S. men leave for China on Wednesday. "We felt pretty confident all along that USADA had done the right thing," said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. "Everybody's looked at it, and we're moving on." The FIG's announcement comes a day after Hamm's twin brother, Paul, withdrew from the Beijing Games, saying he won't be healthy enough to compete. Besides persistent pain from the right hand he broke 2 months ago, the reigning Olympic champion has a strained left rotator cuff, and said it was better that a healthy alternate take his place. Raj Bhavsar took Paul Hamm's place. The FIG's decision on Morgan Hamm was considered a formality. Because international federations have the right to appeal USADA decisions to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, however, the FIG's disciplinary commission had to follow protocol and review the case. USADA and USA Gymnastics sent representatives to the commission's meeting Saturday at FIG headquarters in case there were any questions. The Olympic silver medalist did not attend, though he did give the commission a statement explaining what happened. Acting on the commission's recommendation, the FIG's presidential commission decided not to appeal. USADA announced July 3 that Hamm had been warned for a May 24 positive test for glucocorticosteroid, a cortisone-like anti-inflammatory. The drug is allowed if an athlete gets a therapeutic use exemption, but Hamm had failed to do that. Hamm said he got the shot May 2 from his doctor after taping, ultrasound and other therapies failed to reduce the pain and swelling in his left ankle. After being notified of the positive test, which occurred the second day of the national championships, he sent USADA his medical records and letters from his doctor and physical therapist. USADA said it had "absolutely no concern" the shot was for anything but medicinal purposes. As part of his punishment, Hamm's results from the second day of nationals were wiped out. But USAG and the USOC reviewed all the results from nationals and the Olympic trials, and said Hamm would still have made the team.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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