The pain of finishing only fourth has been etched forever in the memories of many New Zealand athletes.
Few moments in sport conjure up pain like an athlete finishing fourth at an Olympic Games.
Elements such as wounded dignity, uncontrollable anguish and irredeemable circumstances descend on athletes as they contemplate a "George Gregan" of a situation - i.e. four more years - to make amends.
New Zealand's had its fair share - 36 instances involving 67 athletes - of what has come to be known as the "tin" or "leather" medal since debuting at the 1908 Games.
"Tin" probably because it's not worth much relative to the countless hours of training; "leather" possibly because you can use it as a (mental) tool for self-flagellation.
Just eight Kiwi athletes from those 67 reached the podium again after finishing fourth. Rowers John Hunter and Wybo Veldman secured gold in the 1972 men's eight after fourth in 1968; Greg Johnston, George Keys and Chris White took bronze in the coxed four at Seoul after fourth in the eight at Los Angeles; Nathan Twaddle and George Bridgewater turned Athens fourth into Beijing bronze in the coxless pair. Track pursuit great Sarah Ulmer came fourth in Sydney before setting the Athens velodrome alight.
BMX rider Sarah Walker, rower Nathan Cohen, cyclist Alison Shanks and 2004 kayak silver medallist Ben Fouhy have a chance to mount the London podium after Beijing fourths.
Twaddle used his 2004 fourth to drive training.
"In isolation, it's the worst position but I guarantee if you ask anyone who got fifth, they'd take it," Twaddle laughs. "We defined it as a step towards the podium. We came within half a boat length [0.84s] of a prize in Athens. We knew we were close to a breakthrough and few athletes make the podium in their first Games."
Twaddle and Bridgewater were world champions the following year and always in the medal mix until Beijing.
Olympic fourth was less palatable for Rod Dixon. Dixon earned bronze at the 1972 Munich Olympics in the 1500m before going on to win the New York marathon in 1983, such was his versatility.
The 5000m final at Montreal in 1976 was his nadir.
"With a lap to go, I thought I was the fastest in the race. My plan was to have a go with 300m left. At 200m, I realised the heat, the semifinal and the tonsilitis of two weeks back had taken their toll; my kick wasn't there.
"In the rush to the line, I was sure I had bronze. They took four of us aside while they looked at the photo finish. Then the official beckoned towards [gold medallist Lasse] Viren, Dick [Quax, New Zealand silver medallist] and [West German Klaus-Peter] Hildenbrand. It was a case of bye-bye Rod. I was shattered; I wanted to ask them 'have we got time for a re-run?'
"Eventually I just put on my shoes and ran back to our halls of residence. I climbed the stairs to my room, sat on my bed and burst into tears.
"I'd been ranked No 1 in the event in 1975. I'd been to Europe and trained hard with my [older] brother John and I missed a medal by less than a second. You couldn't bat an eyelid in that time."
Dixon missed bronze by 0.12s. There was also controversy because Hildenbrand fell to the finish. The rules stated an athlete had to complete the race with their body at least a metre above the line. Dixon says New Zealand officials decided not to protest.
Another who did not fulfil his Olympic expectations was Mike Stanley, stroke of the 1984 New Zealand men's eight. They hoped to emulate their 1972 forebears by topping the dais and carrying on their world championship-winning form of the preceding two years.
Stanley, now the New Zealand Olympic Committee president, says their dreams unravelled in the final, something accentuated by the filming of their campaign for a documentary called Pieces of Eight.
"I remember that video fading off to the side of the screen at the end, which seemed appropriate. At the time I was bitterly disappointed. When I die, it will still be one of my lasting memories. A precious moment escaped so quickly. For many of us that was our only shot at an Olympic medal after New Zealand boycotted Moscow. Still, going to the Olympics was a risk worth taking. There's never any shame in having passion. It gave me a perspective on life."