“Finally, Martha came in and she was actually tearful,” Locklear said. “She said, ‘We made the decision and it was a really hard one.’ She couldn’t get it out because she was crying. … But then she did, and she named the team, and I wasn’t in the top five. So the tears came. … I thought, ‘Wow. Sixteen years of all this training. After all you’ve done, it’s over.’”
Karolyi paused, congratulated those five, and then went on to name the alternates. “My name was the second one called,” Locklear said, “and I was shocked because I didn’t think a specialist could be an alternate. I was like, ‘Wow, I’m on the Olympic team!’” …
If she doesn’t compete, she will not receive a medal (the U.S. is heavily favored to win the team gold) because the alternates don’t get one. She will fly to Rio with the other U.S. gymnasts in early August, but she doesn’t get to stay or practice in the Olympic Village with her teammates. She and the other two alternates will be housed and continue their training just outside the Olympic Village, waiting for a call-up that may never come.