It wasn’t until Anna Meares finished off the London 2012 Olympic Games with gold and Annette Edmondson a bronze that an out of kilter Australia team managed to right itself.
On the track, we saw Meares falter in the keirin and the team pursuit and team sprint squads just fall short, but while streets ahead of the overall performance at Beijing 2008, the results haven’t been viewed thus far with much positivity.
Instead of celebrating minor medals and improved performances, the nation is collectively saying "not again". Despite the honest and real reactions from the athletes, it has been suggested they need to shape up and stop being so real.
I think we need to remember that when the athletes say they are disappointed, they are not just talking about the race, they are also alluding to the fact that they won't be able to call themselves Olympic champions, unable to enjoy the implications that come with the title. This is a big part of the power of the dream. And the emotion hits like a freight train with just a single glance at the scoreboard.
The Australia women's team pursuit squad finished fourth on Saturday night, an event in which it had hoped, and expected, to challenge for the gold. Instead, the members of the team were left looking shocked, stunned and absolutely devastated.
For the trio that won the gold medal, imagine the future. Dani King, Jo Rowsell and Laura Trott have a world record, an Olympic gold medal, and notoriety for the achievement in front of a home crowd. With millions of Brits watching at home, they will be recognised in the street, have a world of corporate sponsorship opened up to them and the inner satisfaction of knowing what they have achieved.
Now imagine the future for the Aussie girls who finished fourth. The harsh reality is that not many Australians outside the cycling world will even know their names. They will forever look back at their first Olympics with a tinge of disappointment. The day when dreams were shattered, and they felt as though their efforts had culminated in little more than a consolation prize.
So what's my point? Well, it’s important to understand the Australia team pursuit trio is every bit as dedicated to the cause as the gold, silver and bronze medal winners. All three riders have also sacrificed, they too have dreamed and they too have dared to put their entire being into one single day of racing.
But we can also look at the outcome positively. These ladies will always be Olympians. They stood among giants and fought gallantly. The time they rode was an Australian record, the fastest any of the girls have ridden before. The performance of the other teams is completely out of their control, and in isolation, they have performed exceedingly well.
The women's team pursuit is just a single example. I know the girls well, and so intimately understand the sacrifice and now the disappointment. It is gut wrenching.
Athletes will continue to make these sacrifices, and to chase glory, but when their internal battles spill into the public domain, I think we could all be a bit more understanding of the journey and individuals.
In short, as sports lovers and viewers, we are privileged to have a front row seat to the extreme highs and lows of being an athlete, and we shouldn't lose sight of this.