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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 August, 2004, 22:18 GMT 23:18 UK
Hamm stars as US qualify
Paul Hamm
Hamm led the all-round qualification with 58.061
Paul Hamm's dynamic all-round display helped the United States qualify for the gymnastics team final.

The US finished second on 230.419 behind Japan (232.134) and ahead of Romania (230.019) and China (229.507).

China suffered a double blow, with Li Xiaopeng limited to only three events because of injury and Teng Haibin falling from the parallel bars.

Hamm scored 9.762 for a complex parallel bars routine, with his lowest mark of 9.512 coming on the rings.

"It's very important to be one of the top teams in the preliminary competition and we showed everybody what we're capable of," said Hamm.

Hamm led the all-round qualification with 58.061, just 0.137 of a point ahead of South Korea's Yang Tae-young with Japan's Hiroyuki Tomita third.

Romania's Marian Dragulescu, winner of four golds at the European championships in April, was fourth.

The biggest cheer from the flag-waving Greek crowd was reserved for local hero and rings world champion Dimosthenis Tampakos, who scored 9.850 flashed up on the scoreboard.

"All this love the people show for us gives us strength during the performance and I think I can do even better," he said.

Four-times Olympic champion Alexei Nemov was well below his best and chose to compete on only three apparatus for the Russians.

The charismatic gymnast brought the arena to life as he performed five release and catch movements on the horizontal bar to earn his highest mark of 9.737.





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