Sport: Sportwunderland

He is known simply as "Santa Claus." A polite, anonymous man, he materializes soon after an East German athlete has won a big event or broken a record. He congratulates the athlete on his success, opens a briefcase, removes an envelope, counts out and hands over some money and then departs. He is far too discreet to ask for a receipt.

Santa's visits—and other remarkable East German stratagems—may well result in an early Christmas this year for the nation of 17 million. The gifts: enough gold, silver and bronze medals in Munich this summer...

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