BEIJING (AFP) — Alexander Artemev, the son of two former Soviet Union gymnasts, was named to the US Olympic gymnastics squad on Friday as a replacement for Morgan Hamm, who pulled out with an ankle injury.
Artemev, 22, was born in Minsk, Belarus, in what was then to Soviet Union to Vladimir Artemev, the 1984 Soviet all-around champion, and his wife Svetlana, a former rhythmic gymnast.
Artemev moved to the United States in 1984 and became a US citizen in 2002. In 2006 he finished third in the pommel horse at the world championships, the first world podium by an American in the event since Kurt Thomas in 1979.
"It's an honor to be on this team, but it's a shame that it had to happen this way with Morgan getting hurt," Artemev said. "I'm ready to step in because that was my job as an alternate."
Artemev was selected over his fellow alternate, David Durante.
"In this situation, we believe Alex is best suited to help the US men's team pursue a team medal," USA Gymnastics men's program director Steve Penny said.
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