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David Sender withdraws

June 21, 2008 |  2:24 pm

PHILADELPHIA -- National all-around champion David Sender withdrew from the second day of the men's Olympic trials.

Sender, 22, of Arlington Heights, Ill., sprained his right ankle during a training mishap Wednesday. Sender, who missed Thursday's first round but had held out hope he could compete today, said he had received subtle messages that the men's Olympic selection committee wanted to see him try to compete through the sprain.

Though he was the overall winner at U.S. nationals, that was a competition where the dramatic injury

suffered by leader and favorite Paul Hamm during the first round gave Sender a kind of "So what?" title. Defending Olympic gold medalist Hamm had led the field by almost four points after the first night of nationals even though he had broken a bone in his hand on his last rotation and fell off the parallel bars. Hamm hasn't competed since he underwent hand surgery May 27 but fully expects to be named to the six-man Olympic team anyway.

David Durante, the 2007 U.S. all-around champ, had said that in this Olympic year, winning another national all-around title "was kind of meaningless." Plus, he said, "we all kind of assumed Paul would win so when he got hurt it kind of didn't change the plans most of us had for just working out rough edges."

When the U.S. names its six-man team and two or three alternates, maybe as soon as Sunday, Sender will be a long shot. He might have been even if he had stayed healthy. "I know I was a long shot," Sender said Thursday. "It's not fair but it is what it is."

Sender's problem is that with two injury petitions in front of the selection committee, only one is likely to be approved. And it's going to be the one from the former world and Olympic champion who was beating jerseys off the rest of the men.

   -- Diane Pucin