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The Olympic trials: 6 heartbreaking and inspiring moments

Tears, triumphs, agonizing defeats, miraculous wins… and the London Olympics haven’t even started yet

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Making the cut
If you can’t stand to wait three weeks for the Olympics’ incredible feats of strength and agonizing failures, the U.S. Olympic trials may have helped satisfy your craving. Until July 2, the nation’s top athletes competed for limited spots on a range of Olympic teams. And after the excitement of the trials in Iowa and Omaha, London is sure to be one heart-pounding ride. Here, six incredible stories to come out of the heartland.

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Nastia Liukin’s fall
Nastia Liukin’s bid for a second consecutive spot on the Olympic gymnastics team came to an abrupt end Sunday when she belly-flopped from the uneven bars. (See the video here). The 22-year-old, who won gold in 2008, was trying to become the first gymnastics champion to return to the Olympics since Nadia Comaneci in 1980. Instead, her devastating fall marked an end to her competitive gymnastics career.

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The “flying squirrel”
After two intense days of competition, 16-year-old Gabby Douglas — the “flying squirrel” — took the top spot on the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, narrowly besting national champion Jordyn Wieber. Douglas’ fierce talent, winning smile, and endearing “happy dance” made her a crowd favorite. Douglas and Wieber join McKayla Maroney, Kyla Ross, and Aly Raisman on the teenaged “fabulous five” gymnastics team.

View slideshow at The Week.

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