Phillips Idowu made a critical miscalculation. He saw himself at the centre of the Olympics rather than just another contender for some of the greatest glory available in any corner of sport, another sportsman living on the edge of perfect fitness and potential disaster.
Yesterday both he and his team paid a heavy price.
His lack of readiness was painfully apparent as he failed to qualify for the final of the triple jump in which he has dazzled so often. If he had been right physically he could have stepped out of a trance to achieve such progress. Instead, he came to the greatest field in sport plainly in an inappropriate condition.
He had made a drama of his injuries and more than anything he had been clear that he did not feel he owed an explanation to anyone but himself. At a time when so much of the country has been moved by the deeds of their sportsmen and women, his behaviour could hardly have been more jarring.
He didn't seem to realise that the Olympics would come and go quickly enough – and barely notice his absence.