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Byline: Elliott Almond
SYDNEY, Australia _ At the Ashfield Municipal Pool in working class Sydney, Anna Kozlova prepares for her first Olympics in eight years with white paste and smile painted on her face.
The facial cream protects the skin from hours in the chlorinated pool and sun. The smile is mandatory for every synchronized swimmer who must not only perform underwater acrobatics but also look as happy as a beauty queen at a New Year's Day parade.
Kozlova doesn't need to pretend, though. The smile is genuine. It symbolizes the circuitous path she took to Sydney. When she dives into the Olympic pool Sunday to start the duet competition, the former Russian star can rejoice that her 12-year sojourn culminated here.
The feeling already overcame her at last week's opening ceremony when Kozlova participated in the Parade of Nations wearing a U.S. uniform. Competing for the Commonwealth of Independent States in 1992, Kozlova didn't get the chance to participate in one of the most enduring ceremonies of any Olympics. …