Former world champion Non Stanford has written of her 'heartbreak' after just missing out on an Olympic triathlon medal in Rio.
In one of Team GB’s most enduring images from the Games, Stanford is embraced by training partner, house-mate and best mate Vicky Holland, who had just beaten her in a sprint for triathlon bronze.
Stanford later admitted Holland’s first words were to apologise and claimed her emotions were bittersweet - disappointment on missing out on a medal, joy that her friend had achieved her ambition.
And in a powerful blog post, she admits it still hurts nearly t
wo weeks on.
“There were 306 podiums in Rio 2016. 306 Golds. 306 Silvers. 306 Bronzes. And therefore 306 fourths,” she wrote.
"I was certainly not alone. I wondered how many of the 306 fourth placers were at home now, happy with their result? Or how many were wallowing in self pity after coming so close?
“I wasn't really sure what I was supposed to think. Jury was out. I was sat on the fence. Well dangling my feet either side at least.
"Fourth at your first Olympics! You should be proud!
“Rationally, I know this is probably true. But the irrational side of me cried a few tears.
“Disappointed in myself. Disappointed for all those people who invested so much time and effort in me. Disappointed for all the friends and family I neglected in pursuit of an ultimately elusive dream.
"But this is starting to read like a pity plea. And pity is not what I'm after. I've rationalised. I was fourth at the Olympic Games.
“Yes, it fell short of my own, and I'm sure others, expectations. I didn't perform to my ability and I didn't deliver the performance I wanted.
“I’m not going to bore you with excuses as to why I wasn't good enough. But I gave everything I had on the day, and for that at least, I have to be proud.”
Stanford is one of seven British athletes in action at this weekend’s World Triathlon Series race in Edmonton.
Olympic silver medallist Jonny Brownlee insists he has no fatigue from Rio as he seeks to close the gap on series leader, Spain’s Mario Mola, ahead of the Grand Final in Mexico.
Brownlee said: "I go into Edmonton having achieved my goal for the season, an Olympic medal. After a great early season Mario is in pole position for the world championships this season.
“A good result this weekend will give me a very small chance of winning the World Series in Cozumel. It will be nice to race the remaining two races knowing I have done what I wanted this season."