Sport: Losing and Learning in Moscow

At Spartakiad, a lesson was as good as a win

They journeyed to Moscow for the same reasons the first astronauts went to space, to test an alien environment and pave the way for more important missions ahead. Under these trying conditions, a team of largely unknown U.S. athletes performed creditably, though not often winningly, at Spartakiad, the Soviet Union's quadrennial games. They also learned some lessons that should pay handsome dividends when it really counts: at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

The two-week competition was billed as a dress rehearsal for next year's 22nd...

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