Olympics: The Agony off Default

For the athletes, the competition is the thing

Spectators might say, "It's only a game," and they should say it, 20 times a day. But can a building contractor ever say, "It's only a house"? To the world's athletes, the Olympics are not merely sport, and their reactions to the Soviet withdrawal ranged from a sigh to a bolt of anger. "The hell with them," said Al Oerter, a U.S. discus thrower with four Olympiads and four gold medals under his broad belt. Willie Banks, the triple jumper, called the Olympics "the biggest political...

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