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U.S. women’s water polo: the crucible of 2011

If, next summer in London, the U.S. women’s water polo team wins Olympic gold, it will be because of the crucible of 2011.

At the quarterfinals of the world championships in Shanghai, the U.S. women endured a brutal loss to Russia. Then, a couple days ago, at the championships of the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, with an Olympic berth on the line, they pulled out an epic victory.

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Haley Johnson: content and thankful

To everything there is a season. The winter sports season is about begin again. Haley Johnson, a member of the 2010 U.S. Olympic biathlon team who had both her most challenging and ultimately best season last season, who at 29 is in her prime competition years in a sport that rewards endurance, has contentedly called it quits.

There’s a terrific lesson in Haley’s transition.