Foreign-Born Athletes Prominent on U.S. Team

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NEW YORK - The Olympic team the U.S. will field in Beijing includes at least 33 foreign-born athletes, including four Chinese-born table tennis players.

That's an increase of at least six foreign-born athletes over the 2004 team. But melting-pot America is not the only country that embraces athletes born elsewhere. Canada expects to have more than 50 on its team in Beijing.

Generally, foreign countries don't complain when their citizens relocate to compete for the U.S. But some Kenyan officials were miffed when one of their runners (Bernard Lagat) who won two Olympic medals for Kenya became an American citizen before the 2004 Games.

A spokeswoman for USA Track & Field says no one in her organization considers foreign-born athletes as "anything but American."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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