More Shorts: A Top Power Crumbles

A Top Power Crumbles

Like an opera singer straining for a high note, Mitko Grablev opened his mouth wide, but no sound came out until the 369 1/4-lb. bar he was hoisting reached shoulder level. Then the Bulgarian weight lifter shrieked and raised the bar over his head. When the buzzer sounded, he dropped the bar on the wooden deck and cast a final look of defiance down at the weights before acknowledging the cheering crowd with a wave of his fist. He had won a gold medal.

On each of the first five days of weight-lifting competition, other compact athletes like Grablev walked onto...

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