PHILADELPHIA -- The committee that picked the U.S. men's Olympic gymnastics team generally got it right, picking Joseph Hagerty for his 23-for-24 performance at nationals and the trials and omitting Sasha Artemev, who was only one for four on the pommel horse, which is supposed to be his specialty.
The only arguable omission is Raj Bhavsar, who finished in the top three in three events and is an exciting performer. The committee already took a calculated risk in giving a spot to Paul Hamm, who must demonstrate that his broken hand has healed. In addition, Morgan Hamm and Justin Spring are each hampered by injuries. Bhavsar competed well and ended up an alternate for the second successive Games, a cruel fate.
"I went up to my hotel room laughing at the hilarity of the situation, in a sense," he said. "Kind of keep it light-hearted....It's tough. I hope at the end of the day and later on in life I've got a great story to tell about uplifting the human spirit and being selfless."
But right now ...
"It's tough," he said. "Of course, it's tough. But hopefully it's not what team you're on or what medal you win that defines you as a person. That's not how I live my life. I know there's much more to life than making an Olympic team. I'm going to set goals again and go after them with the same tenacity I went after this one."
This isn't the last you'll hear from him.
-- Helene Elliott