(from left:) Donnell Whittenburg and Sam Mikulak, both american artistic gymnasts, practice on Friday, December 11, 2015 in U.S. Olympic Training Center in colorado springs, CO.
Photograph by David Gutenfelder by TIME
December 21, 2015 2:40 PM EST

With eight months until the Olympic Games in Rio, four years of training are coming to a head for U.S. Olympic hopefuls. For some, the coming year will see long-held goals fulfilled, while others may face crushing failures. What’s certain is that for each, 2016 will be a year they never forget.

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This appears in the December 28, 2015 issue of TIME.

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