They come to these Olympic Games seeking medals, validation and—perhaps above all—a place in the ledger of public memory.
Precious few succeed.
In the 17-day sprint to immortality, scads of worthy athletes get lost—buried behind more accomplished, attractive, compelling peers.
So before you divert your attention to training camps and pennant races, we're throwing one final shout-out to the London 2012 Olympic achievers who fell a shade short of fame everlasting.
We're calling them "underappreciated stars," in hopes that you may read this list, agree with us and maybe, one by one, help us off that pesky qualifier.