It's been the most successful year of Clint Dempsey's professional career, as the American forward has scored 16 goals in all competitions this year for Fulham, and scored the game winner last week in a 1-0 decision against Italy.

It's a hot streak unlike anything any American soccer player has ever experienced, which begs the question: Will that hot streak continue into the London Olympics? The tournament is largely considered of relatively low importance in relation to tournaments like the World Cup and the Gold Cup, but it's unquestionably a unique experience.

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"Being with those guys in that kitchen, there's nothing to be nervous about."

Except those guys are Daniel Boulud, Tom Colicchio, David Bouley, Daniel Humm and Florian Bellanger, five of the most renowned chefs in the world. They donated their time and resources to put on the Gold Medal Dining Experience to raise money for the USA Swimming Foundation. And Garrett Weber-Gale served these butter and dairy-loving epicureans a butternut squash soup without heavy cream.

Why would he be nervous?

But there was more to the two-time Olympic gold medal swimmer's offering than appeared in the golden-hued bowl. The sum of his experiences both in and out of the pool were in every spoonful, whether the chefs or 52 guests who gathered at the Bouley Test Kitchen in New York City three weeks ago knew it or not. Weber-Gale's journey, although far from over, had come full circle in a humble bowl of soup. One he hadn't even considered making.

"When I first came up with the concept I wasn't planning on cooking a course," Weber-Gale admits. "Daniel was the one who came up with the idea of me cooking a course as well. He said, 'Why don't you do a soup course?'"

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Jeff Demps is the kind of running back who would raise a lot of eyebrows at this week's NFL Combine. Just imagine him doing this in an NFL uniform:

But Demps will not be in Indianapolis this weekend. Florida's New Year's Day win over Ohio State in the Gator Bowl was likely the last football game of Demps' life.

Instead, the 22-year-old senior is focusing exclusively on his track career, preparing to repeat as NCAA champion and land a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team.

"At the bottom of my heart," Demps says, "I just love running."

Though he likely would have been a mid-round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, Demps made up his mind during the week leading up to the Gator Bowl to pursue only track.

Mike Holloway, Florida's track and field head coach, was "ecstatic" upon receiving the news from his four-time national champion.

Together, Holloway and Demps will chase NCAA titles and Olympic glory.

"He can become one of the best," Holloway says. "Jeff believes that also, or we wouldn't be doing this."


Demps burst on the track scene -- literally -- when at 18 years old he kept pace with Tyson Gay in the first heat of the 100-meter quarterfinals at the 2008 Olympic Trials.

His time of 10.01 seconds set a junior world record. Afterwards, Gay told him to stay focused because he had the talent to go far.

"Just having that experience at such a young age," Demps says, "it helped me at times during my collegiate career."

Demps' track career at Florida has been nothing short of remarkable.

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Sport and betting go hand-in-hand -- more than $1 billion was wagered on this year’s Super Bowl. And tens of millions will be spent on office pools next month during March Madness. A lot of that money will be lost to casinos and betting sites.

But what if gambling money went to a worthy cause?

We're not just talking about how state lotteries fund education, either.

Dave Maloney and Marc Hodulich want to provide fans with a whole new betting experience, where money fans gamble on sporting events goes to a cause more noble than lunch money and pride.

Their new venture, CharityBets, allows those wagering on sporting events to produce charitable donations simultaneously.

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Forget steroids or human growth hormone, the U.S. Olympic Committee has turned to BMW for a performance enhancing leap. Sports scientists from the organization recently reached out to engineers from the German automobile manufacturer for help designing a new piece of technology to help athletes improve in the long jump.

Nobody has been able to come close to breaking the long jump record (29 feet, 4 1/2 inches) set by American Mike Powell at the 1991 IAAF World Athletic Championships in Tokyo.

The Olympics have been handing out long jump medals since the first modern games were held in 1896, and the competition goes all the way back to the ancient Olympics.

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Table Tennis. Germany. Olympics. Bassoon. Susan Sarandon.

Sounds like a bizarre list from a nightmare-inducing aptitude test asking you to figure out which one doesn't belong. Fear not. It's just Michael Landers' life.

The 17-year-old pingpong prodigy is in the middle of qualifying for London this summer and a shot at a gold medal. But his story has so many strange keywords in it you'd think someone was having fun with his Wikipedia page. So how does a carefree kid with no Olympic dreams find himself in the midst of all this? It starts with hide and seek.

When he was 9, Landers broke his arm while hiding in a trash can during one of the aforementioned games. Unable to play any two-armed sports during his convalescence, he took to the ping pong table.

"I was always a fan of racket sports," he says. "I played a lot of tennis, and liked ping pong before the accident."

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