2004: A year to celebrate for Olympians

By Jo-Ann Barnas

PITTSBURGH – They were 10 years removed from their greatest athletic feats, but the distance between them at this moment at Consol Energy Center was a mere 10 feet.

There they stood, the men’s and women’s 2004 Olympic all-around champions – Paul Hamm and Carly Patterson – each retelling stories that made the Athens Summer Games special for them.

Patterson and Hamm, along with other members of the U.S. Olympic silver-medal winning teams, were slated to be honored Thursday night as part of USA Gymnastics’ 10th anniversary reunion during the senior women’s competition at the P&G Gymnastics Championships.

“Being back together with everyone for the first time – it’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years,” Patterson said. “It’s gone by so fast.”

Hamm agreed.

“I haven’t seen people like Blaine Wilson in a long time,” said Hamm, who recently began a new job – he’s coaching at Premier Gymnastics in Downer’s Grove, Ill.

The United States won nine medals in Athens – two gold, six silver and one bronze. In addition to claiming the all-around titles, Patterson and Hamm also earned individual silvers – Patterson on balance beam and Hamm on horizontal bar.

The men’s and women’s teams also both claimed the silver medal.

Other individual medals went to Annia Hatch (silver) for vault, and Terin Humphrey (silver) for uneven bars. Courtney Kupets won the bronze on bars.

The women’s team members: Patterson, Mohini Bhardwaj, Hatch, Humphrey, Kupets and Courtney McCool.

The members of the men’s team: Paul Hamm, Morgan Hamm, Jason Gatson, Brett McClure, Blaine Wilson and Guard Young. The men’s alternates: Raj Bhavsar and Stephen McCain. Women’s team alternates: Allyse Ishino, Chellsie Memmel and Tasha Schwikert.