DAN VS. DAN

THE DECATHLETE MEETS HIS TOUGHEST COMPETITION NEXT WEEK: HIMSELF

By now Dan O'Brien understands the appeal of his story, its picaresque narrative spiked with trial and error, with mishap and misstep, with personal suffering and extraordinary triumph. He calls it his "rags-to-riches" tale, but having happily embarked on the riches phase, he politely wishes that everyone else would please just move on too. The decathlete is tired of what has become his 11th event, talking about his previous failings--the way he mysteriously flubbed the pole vault in the 1992 Olympic trials, thereby blowing his star turn in Barcelona; the way his college partying sometimes got the best of him. But...

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