Two months ago, Dwain Chambers sat in a Paris hotel reflecting upon his shattering defeat in the previous night's World Championship 100m final.
It was the race where the 25-year-old Londoner was supposed to come of age as a world class sprinter after a series of years where his talent had flared only fitfully. It was, in his own words, "make or break" And he had finished fourth.
It seemed as if things could not get worse but this week, as he has found himself at the centre of a swirl of speculation over doping abuse within the sport, his position is even more wretched.
Born in Islington, north London, Chambers eventually outshone his older sister, Christine, a junior sprint international.
As a fan of rapper 50 Cent, "bling" jewellery and designer clothes, he is beloved of sponsors. His good looks are a feature of endorsements for Adidas, which have earned him more than £1m.
Chambers was a fan of high-powered motorcycles but was forced to give his hobby up two years ago when he was nearly killed while fooling around on a bike. Chambers suffered lacerations to his face and dislocated his shoulder and doctors said he may have been killed but for his impressive musculature unmatched by any other sprinter on the circuit.
Chambers has been captain of the British athletics team and was earmarked for a role promoting London's bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. Last November, he shared a platform with other Olympians to unveil a feasibility study and urge the Government to throw its weight behind the bid.
For those who have watched Chambers progress since his world junior record of 10.06sec in 1997, there is a sense of sadness about his position.
His feelings have appeared transparent and his fluctuating career has given him a wide scope of expression. In 1998, he stormed off the track after losing the European 100m title to his British rival Darren Campbell. A year later in Seville, his grin spread from ear to ear after becoming, at 21, the youngest 100m medallist in a World Championships.
However, there has been much speculation that he did not have the mental capacity to win big prizes, a charge he denied, claiming his problem derived from an imbalance in the fluids he was drinking.
At the start of the 2002 season, Chambers left the Nuff Respect management group run by Linford Christie to join Christie's old rival John Regis in the Stellar Management Group.
Under Regis's direction, he sought the advice and assistance of Remi Korchemny, 70, who had once worked with Valeriy Borzov, a Ukrainian who took the Olympic 100m and 200m titles in 1972.
Earlier this year, buoyed by Korchemny's analysis of his potential, Chambers announced that in ideal conditions he would run 9.65sec for the 100m, almost a tenth of a second faster than the world record. It did not come to pass.
Chambers is fond of saying he looks at every negative as a positive. He will need to be working very hard right now.