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Wagner puts 'alternate' role into perspective

Updated: February 9, 2010, 5:25 PM ET
By Bonnie D. Ford

WILMINGTON, Del. -- There may be no stranger position for an athlete than being an Olympic alternate.

It means you didn't make it. It means you almost made it. It means you aren't competing in the most prestigious event in your sport, one that only comes around once every four years, but you have to stay ready just in case. It is a big, fat, closed oyster of disappointment with a tiny seed pearl of hope inside, and the only way to deal with it is to maintain a professional attitude.

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