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Postcard from SALT LAKE CITY


It is alleged to be the highest level of security ever mustered at a public gathering: bomb-sniffing dogs, 12,000 armed guards, video cameras, X-ray machines, helicopters and metal detectors.

Yet someone has managed to sneak a 3-foot-tall, 40-pound, multicolored Olympic mascot out of the main Olympic media center in downtown Salt Lake City. A voice on the public address system asked for the return of the gumdrop-shaped mascot from the 1998 Nagano Winter Games "no questions asked."

A spokeswoman for the Olympic museum, where the mascot was last seen, said pranksters had moved the nameless fluff ball several times, but never off site.

"We have gone to the videotape," she said.

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