Olympic trials imbalance precarious, but is it fair?

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    A broken bone in his right hand will keep Paul Hamm, the reigning all-around Olympic gymnastics champion, out of the U.S. trials next month, but not necessarily out of the Beijing Games. If the same injury happened to Michael Phelps, imperial master of the pool, he'd have to find a waterproof cast and swim through the pain.

    Injury petitions don't exist in his sport or in track and field. Their Olympic trials are merciless. It doesn't matter if you're Dan O'Brien, the best decathlete in the world. Make a silly mistake at the wrong moment, and you're done. Your Olympic dream is on hold for four more years.

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