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SI.com's 10 most popular stories for the week ending Aug. 1

Introducing our roundup of SI.com's 10 most popular stories this week. Be sure to read to the bottom for a bonus story from the SI Vault.

A fall to Earth

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Shirley Dygert had never been skydiving. Dave Hartsock had made hundreds of jumps. Five years ago, they leaped out of a plane together 13,500 feet above the ground. Then something went desperately wrong. By Chris Ballard.


Longform: Cowboy Christmas

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’Tis the season when pro rodeo riders punish their bodies and endure endless miles of bad road and worse food for just eight seconds on the back of an angry horse, with no guaranteed pay—and consider it a gift. By Sam Eifling.


The danger of dealing NBA superstars

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Trade Kevin Love? History shows it may not be a wise move. SI.com looked at recent precedent to consider where different trade packages have left teams forced into dealing a star. By Rob Mahoney.


Will a Qatar World Cup really happen?

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There is extreme heat. There are allegations of corruption. There are horrific working conditions. Eight years from the Qatar World Cup, what do you see? Progress or folly? By Grant Wahl.


Winning the summer

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A decade ago, USA Basketball couldn't recruit the country's top young players. Here's how it's now become the premier summer destination for top recruits. By Pete Thamel.


Ranking the best quarterbacks

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SI.com ranked its top 10 quarterbacks heading into the 2014 NFL season. Who's No. 1? Not reigning MVP Peyton Manning. By Chris Burke.


Rule change isn't death blow

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The Baseball Hall of Fame's board of directors announced that they are cutting a candidate's maximum stay on the writers' ballot to 10 years. Here is why it may actually be good news for steroid-tainted candidates. By Tom Verducci.


Taboo new breakthrough for injuries?

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The Jets’ Chris Johnson is one of hundreds of NFL players who’ve turned to stem cells to aid in recovery from injury. It may be the next big breakthrough in the treatment of sports ailments, but for now questions about effectiveness outweigh the answers. By Jenny Vrentas.


For the love of CrossFit

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No one is booed at the CrossFit Games. The biggest cheer always comes as the last-place finisher struggles to the the end. Here's a look at a sport where everyone's in it together. By Mike Bebernes.


Can Mark Richt finally win it all?

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Georgia has won at least 10 games in seven of Mark Richt's 13 seasons. He will go down as one of the winningest coaches in program history. The question is: Can he finally lead the Bulldogs to a national title? By Zac Ellis.


SI Vault Bonus: The Left Arm of God

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Dodgers lefthander Clayton Kershaw's recent run on the mound - a no-hitter in June, 41 straight scoreless innings, another nine-strikeout gem on Thursday - inspires this week's selection from the SI Vault: Tom Verducci's 1999 story on Sandy Koufax. Koufax was the most dominant pitcher of his time, but he shunned fame and put the team above himself.

More: SI.com's 10 most popular videos from this week

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