US Olympic Men's Gymnastics Team 2012: Breaking Down Team USA's 3 Alternates

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US Olympic Men's Gymnastics Team 2012: Breaking Down Team USA's 3 Alternates
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It was a challenge to crop this photo of the 2012 U.S. men's gymnastics team and alternates.

Why?

Because eight is a crowd. It would have been a lot easier if the photo was just of the five competitors. 

Then the alternates would have been cut off, which so commonly happens in the Olympics.

These alternates have been working their whole lives for this dream and came so close. They gave it everything they had and were not announced as members of the Olympic team.

But, it's not like they didn't make it. They'll still be practicing, training and traveling abroad. Maybe they'll compete, maybe they wont. It won't be definite until the last possible second.

It was tough to make the decisions, especially as the lineups went from six team members to five, Kevin Mazeika, the men's gymnastics national team coordinator, said in an interview with the Emporia Gazette.

“This is definitely the toughest one because we have so many great athletes,” Mazeika said. “We’re so deep. We knew it was going to be tough coming in and it was.”

If one were to compete, he has his chance to prove himself and can be a part of the glory or the pain. If he doesn't compete than he's still a part of it, but not really. Alternates do not receive Olympic medals.

Alternates are an important and integral part to any Olympic team because they might be called up.

The alternates will stay in Birmingham—about two hours northwest of London—during the games.

Here's a look at the three alternates for the U.S. men's gymnastics team: Chris Brooks, Steven Legendre and Alexander Naddour. All three are former Oklahoma Sooners—Brooks graduated in 2009, Legendre in 2011 and Naddour left during 2011 to train with his father.

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