I remember Angela Nikodinov's reaction at failing to qualify for the 2002 US Olympic women's figure skating team. She placed her hands at the side of her head and shook her head, crying, as if she could hardly believe what had happened. Unfortunately, she had not skated well - had omitted several of her planned triples, and she received scores that accurately reflected her mediocre skate. I felt sorry for Angela, of course.
Then, there was Tonia Kwiatowski's failure to qualify for the 1998 US Olympic women's figure skating team. Granted, she was not assured a place on the team, since she was competing against Kwan, Lipinski, and Bobek, but she had placed third in the short program, thanks to Lipinski's fall on her triple flip, so a bronze medal finish was a possibility. Alas, Tonia fell and missed several jumps and finished fourth. It was a heartbreak for her, after all those years of work and effort.