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10 little-known stories about the Olympics

As the 2012 Olympics play out in London, David Wallechinsky’s latest book The Complete Book of the Olympics, 2012 Edition, provides some great finds about past Games.

10. The Golden Slam

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Germany’s Steffi Graf is the only tennis player to win a so-called Golden Slam, capping a year in which she won the traditional Grand Slam events – Australian, French, and US Opens, plus Wimbledon – with a gold medal at the 1988 Olympics. Even though she arrived in Seoul, South Korea, looking to extend a 35-match winning streak, in the Olympic final she had to beat Argentina’s Gabriela Sabatini, who had handed Graf her last defeat five months earlier. Graf won in straight sets in one of the highlights of an incredible year, in which she turned in a 72-3 record. What many may not realize is that Graf also won the Olympic tennis competition in 1984 in Los Angeles as the youngest player in the field (she was 15), but tennis was only auditioning to get back into the Games that year as a demonstration sport, with no medals awarded.

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