Defeated America's Cup skipper Jimmy Spithill has paid tribute to his rivals' recovery from their darkest moments in San Francisco 2013.
Down 8-1 and match-point four years ago, Spithill engineered Oracle Team USA's historic comeback to retain the Auld Mug, inflicting a devastating defeat on Team New Zealand.
Now, with the shoe on the other foot, Spithill acknowledged the long road his rivals had taken back from that point.
"Personally, I think a lot of credit needs to go to [Team NZ skipper] Glenn Ashby and the guys that were on board and involved in the team during San Francisco," he said. "Man, that was a tough one to go through.
"It's no secret - [Team NZ boss] Grant Dalton and I don't usually see eye to eye, but what an incredible effort to come back from something like that and get it done.
"As bitter as it is for me to lose this cup, man, I feel happy for Glenn and those guys to face those demons and pull it off."
Spithill said the Kiwis (including Aussie Ashby) had put together a smart and innovative campaign that raised the bar for future America's Cup regattas.
"I have to be candid and say that a stronger team beat us, it's as simple as that.
"It's really impressive, when you look at the Team New Zealand campaigns over the years - just how innovative they've been, the fact that they really were down there on their own."
He admitted there were many things his team would have changed, in retrospect, but now wasn't the time to go into details.
"It's a teally interesting time, once the result has been decided," said Spithill. "Even when you win the America's Cup, for me, the first thing I usually think about is what we did wrong.
"Now that we've lost it, clearly the list is long. There's a lot of stuff, it's only human, you wish you could go back and reverse a decision or how you approach something, whether it's on the shore or on the water.
"But at the end of the day, I think it's probably too early to really say that. The reflection period is now really an important opportunity for our entire team and for me personally to really think it through, and try and learn those lessons."
Even in contemplating his own team's future, Spithill paid a backhanded tribute to his rivals ...
"Champions and champion teams always come back, and we need to learn the lessons and grow stronger."
Spithill was non-committal towards Oracle Team USA's future participation in the America's Cup ("We haven't even talked about that"), but was effusive in his personal emotions towards this event, where he is now tied (with Sir Russell Coutts) for most finals wins.
"I love this game. I probably shouldn't say this, it's a little bit embarrassing, but I think more about the America's Cup than my own family ... sorry honey.
"It really is an obsession and one of those things that, if you're fortunate enough and in a great team and get to hoist that cup up, it's indescribable ... and amazing thing.
"Every day, all I've done is try and put everything into getting the result and I'd love to do that again.
"I love working with great people, great teams ... we've got great people, we've got a fantastic team."
With Team New Zealand holding all the cards in terms of what format this competition takes in the future, Spithill hoped they would continue down the path it had taken in recent editions, with foiling catamarans and "stadium" racing.
"[Team NZ] earned and deserve the right to decide that, clearly they did. I think, for the people watching this America's Cup and me being involved in it, I believe it has been the best America's Cup to date.
"The racing's been incredible, it's been physical, there have been lead changes ... even the fact that the guy who won the Youth America's Cup has just won the America's Cup.
"You really have to credit Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts as visionaries to put the show where it is today - it really rivals mainstream sport now."