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KSDK – The Sochi Olympics have already caused some controversy, but not really nearly as much as the 1980 games in Russia.

Sixty five countries did not participate in those Olympics. For many athletes, the chance to compete is once-in-a-lifetime. And that chance was denied for one St. Louisan.

Jim Halliburton, 55, is one of the finest swimmers our state has ever produced. He went 128-0 with eight state titles at Ladue High School.

From there, Halliburton went to Indiana, and became a four time all-American and broke one of Mark Spitz's records.

A funny thing happened to Halliburton on his way to Olympics: the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan caused the president to Boycott the games.

"He might not have made the best decision, but he's a good man," Halliburton said.

A week after the 1980 Olympics, Halliburton had a better time that the 1980 gold medalist. He thought after the winter games, Carter would change his mind, but no luck.

Halliburton went undefeated for two years in the senior Olympics, but it got in the way of coaching, which he has done for 32 years now.

He's coached 92 high school state champions, and is resurrecting the St. Louis University program.

He never did get that gold medal, but he doesn't have any regrets.

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