Sport: Russia Whips the World

Leaning low over the blue-white ice of Lake Misurina, the Soviet skater was a study in scowling concentration. Forgotten was the happy camaraderie of stadium ceremony. This was why he had spent bleak, cold years of practice back home at Alma-Ata, this was why he and his Olympic teammates had come to Cortina: to whip the world.

Like every other Russian at Cortina, Moscow Speed-Skater Grishin, an engraver by trade, was honed to a fine edge. At Oslo, four years ago, the Soviets held off their Olympic entry because they knew they had yet...

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