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A gold-medal salute to the 1980 U.S. Olympic team

Five San Diego-area seventh-grade students, telling the story of the 1980 U.S. Summer Olympic team, have won a national history contest — keeping the story alive of the team that never got to compete at the Games because of boycott.

“We are so excited,” their teacher, 28-year-old Hillary Gaddis, said Thursday, after the young people from the Day-McKellar Preparatory School in La Mesa, Calif. had won it all in the “Kenneth E. Behring National History Day” contest at the University of Maryland, adding, “We did it. We got the gold medal — it was incredible.”

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Denver 2022? Is that the best U.S. chance — for now?

Every first-rate politician has a stump speech — practiced material that’s safe and sure, stuff he or she can turn to when playing to a new or different audience.

The president of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, is a first-rate politician. You don’t get to be elected president of the IOC, and then re-elected, without being an expert in the swirl of politics.

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NBC’s $4.38 billion knockout punch

There’s an old maxim in boxing. If you want to beat the champ, you have to knock him out.

That’s pretty much the way it was always going to play out when it came to the contest for the U.S. broadcast rights for the coming editions of the Olympic Games, which the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday awarded to NBC — a $4.38 billion deal that stretches through the 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020 Games.

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Track and field — going nowhere fast in the United States

A friend and I were sitting outside at a great little restaurant in Eugene, Oregon, on Friday when some dude with his shirt off, two feathers pasted to the back of his head, went riding by on a bicycle, smoke billowing around him. The feathers were black and red. Each was at least two feet long.

Not sure what kind of smoke it was but many fine people in Eugene are often, you know, mellow.