Every four years, athletes from around the world gather with the shared dream of winning an Olympic gold medal. But while the men and women who will be at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio may have the same goal, each has their own story to tell. Some are featured here: Stories about faith, about determination — and for those who have been to the Games before, about what happens when gold medal dreams don’t come true.

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A Picture of the Olympics

Let me tell you about a picture.

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Allyson Felix

Title Track

To stay on top in my sport takes a lot of hard work and practice. I spend around three hours on the track and two hours in the weight room, six days a week. When I run, I clear my…

Olympic Swimmer Kara Lynn Joyce visits The Players' Tribune office in New York City, New York on Friday, April 29, 2016. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)

What the (Blank)?: Kara Lynn Joyce

Next up in the Rio Olympics edition of What the (Blank)? is former Team USA swimmer Kara Lynn Joyce. Yes, this is her real handwriting.

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Carrying the Torch

What’s driven me the last four years is not how agonizingly close I came to winning a bronze medal in 2012 — it’s the desire to experience the Olympics with my husband, to share an adventure that few people, and…

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What the (Blank)?: Olympics Edition

Next up in the Rio Olympics edition of What the (Blank)? is Team USA swimmer Ryan Lochte. Yes, this is his real handwriting.

Brandon Slay, left, holding his silver medal for the 76 kg free style wrestling classification, joins with gold medal winner Leipold Alexander, of Germany and bronze medal winner Eui Jae Moon, of Korea for the medals presentations at the Olympics in Sydney, Saturday, Sept. 30,2000. (AP Photo/J.Pat Carter)

Letter to Olympic Medalists

Here's what I want you to think about before you jump off that starting block or dive into that pool: Why are you doing this?

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What the (Blank)?: Tamika Catchings

Next up in the Rio Olympics Edition of What the (Blank)? is USA Women's Basketball forward Tamika Catchings. Yes, this is her real handwriting.

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What the (Blank)?: Ibtihaj Muhammad

Next up in the Rio Olympics edition of What the (Blank)? is USA Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad. Yes, this is her real handwriting.

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What the (Blank)?: John Mann

Next up in our What the (Blank)? series is USA Water Polo's John Mann. Yes, this is his real handwriting.

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What You Don’t Know About: Water Polo

If you combine the physicality of football, the grappling in wrestling, the endurance of long-distance running, the fighting in hockey ... and, of course, some swimming, that’s water polo.

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How to YouTube Your Way to the Olympics

I thought my Olympic dreams had been crushed. Then I got a call. “Hi, this is Ric Suggitt with USA Rugby. Do you mind giving me a call back? I’d like to see if you are interested in playing some…