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Byline: KIRK SHINKLE
In 1983, before she became the most medaled woman in Olympic history -- five gold and one bronze -- speed skater Bonnie Blair was just another hopeful.
She was in Champaign, Ill., training at the time. But her coaches weren't. They were working with other speed skaters in Wisconsin and Montana. Her instruction came in the mailbox, not on the rink.
"I remember getting it sometimes, and going, "I don't even know what this means,' " she said.
It was early in her career. At 19, she'd only recently finished her first Olympic time trials. Her clocking wasn't fast enough to make the team, but showed her the possibility of an Olympic dream. She …