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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Steffenson 50/50 for CG because of feud

Steffenson 50/50 for CG because of feud

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1 Steffenson 50/50 for CG because of feud on Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:06 pm



Steffensen threatens to pull out of Delhi because of feud
By Daniel Lewis
Brisbane Times
September 2, 2010

Bitter ... John Steffensen says he's only a '50-50' chance of defending his
Commonwealth crown.

might not run at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi next month because he is still feuding with Athletics Australia.

Although selected to represent Australia in the 400 metres, Steffensen said he hadn't forgiven AA for forcing him to run at the national championships in Perth in April to qualify for the Games, even though he was recovering from back surgery in January.

He came second at the championships and won a spot on the Games team, but Steffensen said the racing had slowed his recovery. ''It really ruined my season. I should never have run, but I was told to run.''

The national championships are the only time the 2006 Commonwealth Games 400m gold medallist has raced this year because of the back operation, but he has been training in Los Angeles. Steffensen declared he was 100 per cent fit, although his training had involved ''a lot of resting'' and he is still awaiting confirmation from doctors that racing in Delhi would not cause further setbacks.

Steffensen said he wanted AA to treat him with the respect and professionalism his sponsor, ASICS, had shown him.

''I'm a professional athlete, I have a professional set-up, I have great people around me that support me, and it's about time [AA] jumped on board and did the same. Until they take responsibility … for things that have happened in the past and also what's going to happen in the future, I think my relationship with them is going to stay the same.''

Steffensen, 28, said the likelihood of him going to Delhi was ''50-50'' and that was due to his relationship with AA, not his fitness.

The new chief executive officer of AA, Dallas O'Brien, believes Steffensen was dealt with fairly at the national titles, but there was ''miscommunication''. ''There might have been a few things said by both sides that shouldn't have been said.''

O'Brien stressed Steffensen had been given an exemption from competing in Perth because of his back operation, but he had also been told that he could not be guaranteed selection for Delhi if he did not compete and others put in performances deemed satisfactory.

O'Brien said AA and Steffensen had been in dispute for about two years over various issues, and AA had been ''trying to get together [with Steffensen] for quite a while, with letters and emails and phone calls … to have a bit of a mediation session'', but meetings always fell through.

O'Brien said he thought Steffensen ''wants some recognition that he's right and we're wrong, but … I said there's got to be acknowledgement on both sides, and we're willing to do that. We sent him a letter [demanding] an apology from him for the way he carried on at the nationals and the things he said in the press. It was just degrading to Athletics Australia, and it's something an athlete should not get away with."

2 Re: Steffenson 50/50 for CG because of feud on Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:17 pm


Interesting that this story appeared in the paper the day before the other item.

Fit for gold, says Steffensen
From AAP
September 01, 2010

COMMONWEALTH Games 400m champion John Steffensen says he is in good shape to defend his title in New Delhi despite a limited build-up.

Steffensen said in Sydney today he was over the worst of the back troubles which plagued him earlier in the year and had his sights firmly set on another gold in October.

He hasn't competed since clocking 45.72 seconds to finish second behind Ben Offereins at the national Commonwealth Games trials in April and admitted he wasn't sure what time he would need to run to take out the one lap dash in Delhi.

But whatever it took, Steffensen said he was ready to deliver.

"Defend the title - the king's got to go back to his throne ... I always shoot for the win,'' said Steffensen, who set his PB of 44.73 in the Commonwealth final in Melbourne four years ago.

"I could step onto the track and it could be won in 46 seconds.

"A lot of the top runners have pulled out of the Games ... you don't know what it takes to win.''

Commonwealth Games aside, Steffensen said his main priority remained the London Olympics.

Dissatisfied with his effort at the 2008 Games in Beijing, the 28-year-old Steffensen said he would not do anything to jeopardise his chance of a strong showing in 2012.

He has spent the Australian winter at his US training base in Los Angeles, working with coach John Smith and running alongside Beijing bronze medallist David Neville.

"The big focus for us is the Olympics - everybody knows that I didn't perform well in `08 and it still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth,'' Steffensen said.

"I just want to make sure that come London - whatever I plan from now on in my career is planned and geared towards London, that we go there and have no excuses.

"I think that's what the public wants, they're sick and tired of excuses, they're sick and tired of athletes and myself underperforming.''

Steffensen said he would head to Munich to visit the specialist who performed the surgery on his back, but claimed there were no lingering effects from the injury.

"The back's good ... the body's healthy now and feeling ready to rock,'' he said.

3 Re: Steffenson 50/50 for CG because of feud on Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:06 am


ProTrack Star
ProTrack Star
Steffensen quits Delhi Games: report Sydney
September 9, 2010 - 8:22AM
.Outspoken athlete John Steffensen has reportedly chosen to quit the Delhi Commonwealth Games team as a protest against Athletics Australia.

Steffensen, a dual Games gold medallist at Melbourne in 2006, has stated he can no longer work with AA, what he called an "egotistical and outdated" body.

"I know some people will be saying 'OK, here goes John again'," he told News Ltd newspapers.

"But this decision, it's going to cost me money, my reputation will take a hit and my chance of ever winning consecutive Commonwealth golds is gone.

"See, I love Australia. Love running for my country. But by sacrificing two years of my own preparations for these Games, I hope people understand how passionate I am about creating change for athletics in this country."

Since he rose to prominence as part of Australia's silver-winning 4x400m relay team at the Athens Olympics in 2004, Steffensen has been known for his free speech and prickly relationship with officialdom.

In response to the reports, AA chief executive Dallas O'Brien said he had not received any formal notification.

"Athletics Australia have had no official confirmation of John's withdrawal," he said in a statement.

"(We) would be disappointed if Steffensen, the defending 400m champion, were not available to represent Australia in the 400m and the 4 x 400m relay in New Delhi."

O'Brien said his organisations had made numerous attempts to meet with Steffensen and repair their differences, to no avail.

"John is supported by Athletics Australia's High Performance program and is a valued athlete," he said.

"He has been a member of our World Championship, Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams.

"Following the Selection Trials, and on a number of occasions since, John has been critical of Athletics Australia through the media.

"We have made numerous attempts to arrange meetings with John to discuss his issues and his behaviour since April and have also offered to participate in an independent mediation process.

"Despite this, John has refused all efforts to meet with Athletics Australia to discuss his situation.

"It is extremely difficult to resolve any issues with an athlete that refuses to communicate directly."

Steffensen has argued that he was wrongly forced to compete at the selection trials after back surgery, despite having already run an "A" qualifying time.

4 Re: Steffenson 50/50 for CG because of feud on Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:52 am


Thanks Phantom.

Steffenson is a great athlete, no doubt, and when on song is a fierce competitor as he showed at the nationals when he realised he may not get an individual berth unless he ran in the top 3. And it was a fantastic performance at the Commonwealth Games in 2006, but since then he has hardly competed, struggled to match anything like his 2006 form and has changed coaches at least 4 times.

This latest episode is farcical. Cut to the chase. He isn't running in Dehli because he simply isn't running well enough. It has little to do with AA. In wake of the constant criticism, AA have no choice but to immediately cease funding him. In my view, he has become a soft precious prima dona who wants to blame others for the fact he can't get his body right and can't run as fast he wants to or needs to be.

Dalls O'Brien is a terrific bloke who would have tried desperately to assist Steffenson. As the new kid on the block as AA CEO, it's not in Dallas's best interests to have this ongoing problem with Steffenson, so I can only assume that Steffenson has spiralled out of control, with little direction or purpose because he simply won't listen to reason.

Steffenson can only help himself and until he acknowledges that, there's nothing anyone else can do.

PS: As for this:
"Steffensen has argued that he was wrongly forced to compete at the selection trials after back surgery, despite having already run an "A" qualifying time."

So had Sean Wroe, Ben Offereins and Joel Milburn - all 3 had A qualifiers and ran at the nationals knowing a spot was on the line. Wroe never complained when he was the one to miss out. Hopefully now Sean will get an individual berth.

"Let's Go While We're Young"

5 Re: Steffenson 50/50 for CG because of feud on Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:17 am



Why I'm boycotting Delhi Commonwealth Games - John Steffensen
EXCLUSIVE by Nick Walshaw
From: The Daily Telegraph
9th September 2010

EVEN John Steffensen knows a man can only say so much.

"Which is why I've decided to act," the 400m runner says. "This is the toughest decision I've ever had to make but I want people to realise this is more than another headline, more than someone creating controversy. I want people to understand 'hey, John really is passionate about this'."

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph, Steffensen has announced his decision to boycott the Commonwealth Games.

The outspoken Sydneysider says he wants to expose the "bullying, egotism and outdated approach" of the national governing body, Athletics Australia, while also revealing four years of unanswered complaints, including his room at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games being broken into and trashed.

"And I know some people will be saying 'OK, here goes John again'," Steffensen concedes. "But this decision, it's going to cost me money, my reputation will take a hit and my chance of ever winning consecutive Commonwealth golds is gone.

"See, I love Australia. Love running for my country. But by sacrificing two years of my own preparations for these Games, I hope people understand how passionate I am about creating change for athletics in this country."

Steffensen last night revealed how:

* AFTER completing his victory lap at the Melbourne Games, he returned to the athletes village and found his door kicked in and room trashed. AA officials assured him the matter would be dealt with. Four years on, it hasn't. "Would any other athlete not expect answers?" he asks. "I've never spoken publicly about this for the sake of the sport ... but enough is enough."

* IN JANUARY, Steffensen had major back surgery and - on the advice of leading surgeons - sought an exemption from the national championships 13 weeks later. The event doubled as Games trials and Steffensen hoped his medical circumstances and record would be considered. Request denied.

"Athletes are getting bullied, dictated to, copping decisions that are essentially jeopardising careers," he says. "I explained the surgeons' findings and they effectively said 'too bad, run'. As AA is funded by the taxpayer, Australians deserve to know it needs a complete overhaul."

After running the national final and finishing second, an angry Steffensen told journalists he should never have been made to compete.

Yet only now, four months on and six weeks out from the Games, AA is demanding he provide a written explanation. "It's like my life, my peak preparations are a game to them," he says.

* ALMOST four years ago Steffensen sent AA a 14-page letter detailing a raft of complaints including claims he "verbally abused" Olympic legend Glynis Nunn.

Steffensen says AA broke its own confidentiality clause by leaking the case to the media - which caused him widespread condemnation. He has never received a response.

* STEFFENSEN recently tried to sort through his issues with AA yet their nominated mediator was Rob Fildes, the AA president.

"All up I've endured four years of discrimination but, for the sake of my sport, I've kept running, kept winning medals," he says.

"Well, I can't do it anymore. I'm standing down so our next generation of athletes never endure this."

AA chief executive Dallas O'Brien last night said he had not received an official withdrawal notice from Steffensen but would hold a hearing with the runner if he chose to boycott the Games.

Sorry John, seems the Aussie public are not that gullible. The following are comments to the Daily Telegraph.

League Freak of Sydney Posted at 12:20 AM Today
I'd like to announce that I don't care.
Comment 1 of 25

david Posted at 12:31 AM Today
Did not compete at Olympics and Now Commonwealth games. Not missed your boycotting yourself.
Comment 2 of 25

Moose of Sydney Posted at 1:03 AM Today
why dont you quit the London 2012 Olympics too while your at it.
Comment 3 of 25

Ian of Penrith Posted at 1:04 AM Today
If what Steffensen says is true, it would be interesting what AA's respone will be. Either way brave move on his behalf.
Comment 4 of 25

I don't like primadonnas Posted at 4:07 AM Today
If you dont want to run for Australia fine, that's your decision but please stop complaining. This bloke is a pain in the backside. Why should he get special treatment. Whats the problem... He ran came second and qualified. All athletes get injuries at bad times and miss important events, it's unfortunatly part of all sports. My house got broken into once. I called the police but never heard any more. Right or wrong it happens mate. If you don't want to run for Australia then just go and get a job like the rest of us and stop complaining to the media all the time.
Comment 5 of 25

richard Posted at 5:51 AM Today
Didnt even know he had been chosen. Will NOT be missed as he never had the ability to compete at the top level.
Comment 6 of 25

Howie Posted at 6:46 AM Today
STEFFENSEN is becoming the male version of Jana! When your form starts dropping you blame everyone else, except looking in the mirror and accepting you will never be number one!
Comment 7 of 25

Phil of Dysart Posted at 7:32 AM Today
Righto Mundine. Stop trying to create headlines for yourself. What have you done in the last couple of years? Noone has heard a thing about you because you haven't done anything noteworthy on the track. Get lost.
Comment 8 of 25

Nobby of Darwin Posted at 7:32 AM Today
WHO??? AHHH thats right youre the bloke who cries discrimination all the time...that only works for high profile people...NEXT!!
Comment 9 of 25

bruce watson of boambee east Posted at 7:34 AM Today
Thank god now we don't have to watch this overated poser lose.
Comment 10 of 25

Adam Winters of Sydney Posted at 7:37 AM Today
What a sook!!! No-one will see anymore than that!! Just admit that you won't be able to compete at the level you once did and you'll maintain your respect. Boycotting will do nothing for you, people can see right through it. Compete and Win however and you may have a cause!!!
Comment 11 of 25

The Red Sea of Port Macquarie Posted at 8:07 AM Today
So, what has Jana Steffensen done in the last 5 years anyway? I thought he'd retired.
Comment 12 of 25

Bludging on the blind Posted at 8:18 AM Today
There's a fourth we wont get.
Comment 13 of 25

Chris of sydney Posted at 8:36 AM Today
just wondering does this bloke get any tax payer funded training etc?if so please refund all cash now. and as for "bullying, egotism and outdated approach"..well erm its a good job you dont seem to have a real job because i get the idea you'd never turn up to that are a serial pest mate, now get a real job if this running shenanigans stuff is just to emotionally draining for you!
Comment 14 of 25

Hagar of Horrid Posted at 8:36 AM Today
"And I know some people will be saying 'OK, here goes John again'" What people will say that - no-one knows who you are.
Comment 15 of 25

Yawn Posted at 8:46 AM Today
I'm sure the 3 people who actually care are heartbroken.
Comment 16 of 25

kmr of Sydney Posted at 8:57 AM Today
This guy is a whinger. There are so many people that miss out on competing for their country or get injured that would love to trade places with this jerk.
Comment 17 of 25

Dee of Sydney Posted at 9:02 AM Today
What have you achieved you under achieving, disrespectful, annoying little man.
Comment 18 of 25

BERT of Ballina Posted at 9:40 AM Today
Prima-donna Muppet in a sport nobody cares about. What a loser !
Comment 19 of 25

Who Cares of Bathurst Posted at 9:44 AM Today
Good riddance you loud mouthed nobody.
Comment 20 of 25

Steve Davis of nsw Posted at 9:45 AM Today
Thank god we wont have to watch him prancing around our tv screen at these games! If ever the term 'Un-Australian' was appropriate, it would be in describing this clown!
Comment 21 of 25

pronto Posted at 9:50 AM Today
Repay the sponsorship & funding money then, you loser. You're not going to do what you were being paid for, give it back.
Comment 22 of 25

Ron Jeremy of Sydney Posted at 10:27 AM Today
This guy must be the biggest whinger in Australian sport. Message to John ... mate, we don't care. Don't run at the Commonwealth Games. I for one would rather my taxes are spent on sending a young runner who wants to be there rather than an ungrateful, spoiled, complaining brat like you. Have a big glass of grow the hell up mate. PS it's a pretty pathetic and catty act to pull out this close to the Games, simply as an act of spite to get back at AA for supposedly 'doing you wrong'. What has he done since the 400m in Melbourne 4 years ago ... ? Answer: zilch. Good riddance.
Comment 23 of 25

Phil of work Posted at 10:35 AM Today
Agree with every comment on here, he acts like a prima donna but has nothing to back it up with. As someone wrote earlier Atheletes get injured all the time before selection meets, remember Ian Thorpe, i think it was Craig Stevens who gave up his spot when Thorpie was injured during the trials. And yes Thorpie was a legend, unlike Steffenson.
Comment 24 of 25

Rumdogs of Newcastle Posted at 10:48 AM Today
mundines long lost
Comment 25 of 25

"Let's Go While We're Young"

6 Re: Steffenson 50/50 for CG because of feud on Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:34 am


From the AA website

Statement from Athletics Australia CEO Dallas O'Brien regarding John Steffensen

There have been reports in the media that John Steffensen intends to withdraw from the 2010 Commonwealth Games team. Athletics Australia has had no official confirmation of John’s withdrawal and would be disappointed if John, the defending 400m champion, were not available to represent Australia in the 400m and the 4x400m relay in New Delhi (IND).

Over recent months, there have been a number of unsubstantiated allegations raised in the media in relation to John and his relationship with Athletics Australia. I would like to clarify the organisation’s position on the following key issues:

The Australian Athletics Championships and Selection Trials:
In the lead-up to this year’s national championships and Commonwealth Games selection trials in Perth in April, John requested an exemption from competing in the trials due to injury.

Following this request, an exemption was granted by the Chairman of Selectors, however, in line with the selection policy, John was informed that this did not guarantee him an individualberth in the 400m on the Commonwealth Games team.

At the time, four athletes (including John) had already achieved the A-qualifying standard required to be considered for selection. Under the Commonwealth Games rules, Australia can select up to three athletes to represent Australia in individual events.

The selection policy states that the winner of the trial is automatically nominated to the team if they have an A-qualifying performance at that time (either in the trial or earlier in the period). If the winner is automatic and the second place getter also has an A-qualifier, they too are nominated automatically.

Given that four athletes had already achieved the A-qualifier in this event prior to the trial, it was likely that the third place-getter in the trial would also have an A-qualifier, and would therefore have a strong case to take the third and final position under the selectors' discretion.

Considering this information John chose to compete at the national championships, where he placed second and was an automatic nomination.

Athletics Australia selection policies
All selection policies are available on the Athletics Australia website.

The selection policy applies to ALL athletes, and is considered the fairest process in which to select the team.

Disagreements with Athletics Australia
John is supported by Athletics Australia’s High Performance program and is a valued athlete. He has been a member of our world championships, Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams.

Following the selection trials, and on a number of occasions since, John has been critical of Athletics Australia through the media.

We have made numerous attempts to arrange meetings with John to discuss his issues and his behaviour since April and have also offered to participate in an independent mediation process. Despite this, John has refused all efforts to meet with Athletics Australia to discuss his situation. It is extremely difficult to resolve any issues with an athlete who refuses to communicate directly.

7 Re: Steffenson 50/50 for CG because of feud on Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:12 pm


I hate having the most recent posts at the top instead of the bottom.

I agree - fixed it up.

8 Re: Steffenson 50/50 for CG because of feud on Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:05 pm


Stefensons career is over. Forget about him. Encourage the guys who are seriously committed to running for their country.

9 Re: Steffenson 50/50 for CG because of feud on Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:09 pm


I'm with Steffensen - AA got it wrong

* Nick Walshaw
* From: The Daily Telegraph
* September 10, 2010 12:00AM

OLYMPIC hero Matt Shirvington has backed the Commonwealth Games boycott of John Steffensen - convinced Athletics Australia must make significant changes before again becoming a "super power" in track and field.

Once the fastest man in Australia over 100m, Shirvington says Steffensen is right to demand changes of a scheduling program that had the 400m runner competing only 13 weeks after major back surgery to secure his place in the Games team.

Yet AA chief executive Dallas O'Brien - whose organisation yesterday released a press release to counter the Steffensen claims - described any potential boycott by the Sydneysider as "a defence for not getting his way".

"I've been in John's position and understand where he's coming from," Shirvington told The Daily Telegraph last night. "There needs to be more flexibility in scheduling, more understanding ... especially for senior athletes in the twilight of their careers who find it extremely hard to peak twice in the same year.

"If Australia wants to be a super power again we need change. Obviously AA still needs its domestic season, but when you hold your national championships in April, select one athlete for each event, not three. That way the other two places can be decided four to six weeks out from the major events like the Olympics.

"We did it before Kuala Lumpur in 1998 and Australia won a bagful of medals."

As revealed exclusively by The Daily Telegraph, Steffensen is boycotting the Delhi Games because of an "egotistical and outdated" AA. The reigning Commonwealth 400m champion wants a complete overhaul of the governing body, resolution to four years of unanswered complaints and asks why it took five months for AA to demand he answer for angry media comments made after the championships in April.

Yet O'Brien insists AA has "bent over backwards" for Steffensen - making numerous attempts to arrange meetings with the runner while also agreeing to participate in an independent mediation process.

But The Daily Telegraph has obtained an email sent from AA to Steffensen in August stating: "We don't believe a mediator is necessary".

O'Brien added the Olympic silver medallist had been granted an exemption from the nationals, but couldn't be guaranteed a 400m Games spot with three other Australian runners also boasting an A-qualifying time.

"But I was never asking to be guaranteed a spot at the Games," Steffensen countered yesterday.

"I was asking for a spot to be left open, not for me but for the fastest 400m athlete six weeks out from the Games.

"AA can make this about me but whether I'm saying it or Joe Bloggs is saying it, there are issues that need to be addressed.

"Take me out of it."

10 Re: Steffenson 50/50 for CG because of feud on Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:57 pm



Running off at the mouth
By Ron Reed
Herald Sun
September 10, 2010

IT WENT largely unacknowledged, but this week's 50th anniversary of Herb Elliott's mighty win in the 1500m at the Rome Olympics was a reminder that Australian track and field deserves more respect than it sometimes gets.

Next week's 10th anniversary of the Sydney Games, which will focus on Cathy Freeman's starring role on and off the track, will be another one.

The sport has thrown up no more admirable figures, although John Landy, Betty Cuthbert, Marjorie Jackson, Raelene Boyle, Rob de Castella, Steve Moneghetti, Ralph Doubell and others have also helped form a high-quality honour roll.

It's not just the glow of old glory, either - the good times seem to be coming back.

The Beijing Olympics and last year's world championships were pleasingly successful and that momentum should continue at the Commonwealth Games, where athletics is one sport that offers a decent challenge.

With 20 athletes ranked in the top 20 in the world - including authentic stars in pole vaulter Steve Hooker, hurdler Sally Pearson and discus thrower Dani Samuels - the sport is in a good place, especially after getting more than $5.5 million from the Sports Commission last week.

Then along came a dark cloud. Outspoken 400m specialist John Steffensen, mounted on his high horse as usual, announced he would boycott the Games because Athletics Australia had made life difficult for him.

The temptation is to ignore Steffensen - plenty of competitors are more deserving of the limited media space available to athletics - but his story is actually a salient lesson in how not to go about it.

With a striking appearance, a showman's personality, a certain gift of the gab and enough talent to win a relay silver medal at the Olympics and an individual gold at the Commonwealth Games in one of the most demanding events, Steffensen had all the makings of a star.

He should have been very good for a sport always in need of headline acts.

Sadly, though, he has never seemed to grasp a couple of other essentials, such as professionalism and respect for authority.

Despite the media running with the story yesterday, he still hadn't bothered to inform AA of his plans officially.

Two years ago he beat a charge of verbally abusing Olympic champion Glynis Nunn-Cearns, a national selector, on a technicality and now he refers to Athletics Australia as "egotistical and outdated".

As frustrated and angry as some heavies are, a senior source denied Steffensen was in danger of being charged with bringing the sport into disrepute.

But there is not much sympathy, either, among other athletes or sports fans who had their say on the internet.

Steffensen would command more credibility if he turned up and let his feet do the talking, not his mouth.

But perhaps part of the problem is that, having not raced competitively since April, he doesn't want to put himself on the line.

Whatever the truth of that, it's a futile way to protest.

Moneghetti, chief of the Games team, got it right: "Is this going to change the system? No chance."

WITHOUT comment, we offer this related result from a 400m race in Italy the other night: Australia's one-lappers in Delhi will include Ben Offereins, Joel Milburn and Kevin Moore. Oscar Pistorius, the South African disabled athlete who has no feet, beat two of them and failed by 1/100th of a second to claim all three.

"Let's Go While We're Young"

11 Re: Steffenson 50/50 for CG because of feud on Mon Sep 13, 2010 3:05 pm

Iron Maiden

Each time I read an article written by Ron Reed I know I'll get some sort of ill informed or rehashed dribble. This time was no exception.

I wish he could offer a positive piece with much greater creative insights than he usually does.

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