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Olympic athletes come with lots of baggage

As the Olympic Games near Athletes begin to arrive in Heathrow with lots of luggage in tow.

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Air crew walk past the wax figure of Usain Bolt, as passengers arrive at London's Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, July 12. The wax figure of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, adopting his signature pose, was officially unveiled Thursday at the airport before it goes on display at the Madame Tussauds attraction in central London on Monday July 23.

Steve Parsons/AP

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Kenneth Andreasen, the head coach for the US Olympic sailing team, is not a man who travels lightly. He's already sent 10 shipping containers full of sailboats, motor boats, masts, sails, trailers and other marine equipment to the Olympic sailing center at Weymouth.

Andreasen and his team of 16 sailors and assorted coaches are arriving Monday morning at Heathrow Airport with what can only be described as gobs more luggage. He will have plenty of company — Monday is crunch time for Olympic arrivals at Europe's busiest airport because that's the day the Athletes Village opens at London's Olympic Park.

"We go through a lot of sails. We bring them on the plane," Andreasen told The Associated Press by telephone from Portsmouth, Rhode Island. "Windsurfers can be checked in as baggage, too."

The very topic of luggage can send regular airline passengers into apoplectic fits. How much more anxiety, then, for Olympic athletes who are sending everything from horses to bikes to vaulting poles to an island nation to pursue their lifelong dreams?

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