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Pete Kelley at the Olympic Weightlifting Trials

St. Joseph, Missouri-born Pete Kelley was ranked fourth in the nation going to the Olympic trials, held in that city's Civic Arena in front of a packed, partisan crowd. The narrow margin encompassed thousands of training hours and hundreds of hometown hopes: If he placed third at the Olympic trials, he would be a five-ring hero, a celebrated example of what a humble local boy can do with enough hard work. If he fell to fourth, he would lose his stage and, maybe, his motivation. A few minutes would define his career, if not his life. Using his flawless technique and some sharp strategic gambits, Kelley positioned himself for Athens. He had injured his leg on the previous attempt, but with a single lift determining his fate, he returned for one last effort. As he started to hoist the final load, Kelley stumbled back, unable to continue. The crowd responded with a lengthy ovation, and Kelley turned to face his fans, tears in his eyes. In his defining moment, Kelley showed courage and class.

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