When Olympic gymnastics trials take place next week in San Jose, Calif., all eyes will certainly be on the women. But one of the most compelling story lines will play out on Wednesday, when a U.S. trampoline champion will be crowned and one man will punch a ticket to London. Two of the favorites competing for that spot? Brothers Steven and Jeffrey Gluckstein.
"We're best friends," older brother Steven, 21, told NPR.
"It's just real tough," 19-year-old Jeffrey said. "It's such a big year. It's the Olympics."
The two live at home with their parents in New Jersey. They eat breakfast and dinner together. They diligently train together with the same coach six days a week.
In a sport that Steven describes as 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical, competing against flesh and blood raises the already astronomical pressure that comes during an Olympic trial.
Wednesday's competition will be the third of three events that determine the Olympic qualifier. The worst of the three scores is thrown out, and the highest combined tally earns the Team USA spot.
The Glucksteins are competing in a field of 10, so it's far from guaranteed that either will make the team. But with Steven leading the standings and Jeffrey being described as a natural on the trampoline, there's a good chance one of them will succeed.
If so, the other will likely take a bittersweet trip to London to cheer for his brother and his team. Hopefully they'll still eat together.
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