Olympic gymnastics champion Paul Hamm was arrested for allegedly hitting and kicking a taxi driver, damaging a cab window and refusing to pay a $23 fare in Columbus, Ohio (video below). According to WBNS-TV, Hamm can be heard saying, "I don't understand. I'm gonna kill you guys" and telling a police officer that he had had about eight drinks.
Hamm is free on bond awaiting a September 15 arraignment, according to online court records.
The taxi driver, Abdinasir Elmi, said that Hamm had unintentionally locked the cab door and was trying to get out through the window. Elmi also said that Hamm swore and elbowed him as he tried to help the athlete open the window.
Hamm's agent, Sheryl Shade, declined to comment Wednesday, the Associated Press reports.
USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny stated: "We have read about the unfortunate situation involving Paul Hamm in media reports, and we are certainly concerned for Paul. USA Gymnastics will wait for more information before commenting further."
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Hamm has been working as an assistant coach at Ohio State while he trains for the London Olympics. Ohio State officials were aware of the arrest and said that they would determine how to handle the matter after it is dealt with in court.
Hamm is the only American man to win Olympic (2004) and world (2003) all-around titles. He missed the Beijing Games with an injury, then got a job in Chicago as a finance trader.
Hamm quit that job last summer and announced a comeback in the hopes of making the U.S. team for London next year.