ROAD TO RIO: Athletes learn to dig deep in final seconds of competition

Emma Coburn runs during the women's 3000-meter steeplechase at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. AP Photo

How do you become an Olympian? You work hard for years and years, training an entire lifetime for what often amounts to just a few seconds.

The most important seconds usually come at the end, when all that stands between an athlete and victory, is themselves.

NBC Olympics talked with athletes about how they power through those final seconds. Watch the video to see what they said. 

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Road to Rio — 2016 Summer Olympics

Here’s how the athletes in this video fared during the Olympic Trials:

  • Alysia Montano: In a heartbreaking twist, Montano tripped during the 800-meter final. She will not be competing in Rio.
  • Allyson Felix: Felix won the 400-meter final and is headed to Rio. She did not qualify in the 200-meter race.
  • Jenny Simpson: Simpson won the 1,500-meter race at the trials and will compete in Rio.
  • Emma Coburn: Coburn will compete in the steeplechase in Rio.

The Opening Ceremony for the Rio Olympic Games can be seen August 5 on News Channel 8. News Channel 8’s Paul Ryan will be in Rio with live reports during the Olympics, which run from Aug. 5 – 21.

Stay with for the latest on the games. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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