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AUSTIN — When former Marble Falls High School athletic standout Leonel Manzano steps onto the Olympic track Friday in London for the 1,500-meter preliminaries, he’ll probably be the shortest person at the starting line.

At 5 feet 5 inches, Manzano’s legs and strides typically don’t come near the length of his opponents. But one University of Texas researcher said it’s not about the 2004 Marble Falls High School graduate’s legs — it’s all about his heart.

PHOTO: Leonel Manzano, the United States 1,500-meter champion who hails from Granite Shoals, is days away from running in the first qualifying race of the London 2012 Summer Olympics. Health experts at the University of Texas at Austin have studied Manzano and say the size of his heart helps make him a champion. Photo by Holly Reed