SOUTH KOREA (Nexstar) — They are Olympians in waiting, alternate athletes who are there for their country if a qualifying athlete is unable to compete.

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So what is it like to be one of the world’s most talented second strings? Annie Sabo spoke to a team USA curling alternate with an experienced past.

Joe Polo won a bronze medal in 2006 and decided to make the journey to PyeongChang knowing this time he might never see the ice.

“It’s tough. I’d always like to go out there and play, but it’s fun watching the guys and trying to support them and do my thing,” Polo said.

Leading in to the games, Polo admits he’s been dealing with an injury and is not feeling 100 percent, but will be ready if called upon to compete for Team USA.

“I’ve been dealing with a slap tear on my shoulder, so I was just trying to take it easy throughout the season to make sure I’m ready for the games in case I need to be.”

And although Polo doesn’t know what this Olympics has in store for him, he says medaling in 2006 was why he made the trip to PyeongChang.

“It was a pretty surreal experience winning a medal, and being up on the medal stand. We had a great time and I couldn’t imagine not trying to come back,” Polo said.