PERHAPS the weight of expectation was too much.
Australian James Magnussen, dragging the hopes of a nation, has missed the gold medal in the men's 100 metre freestyle by a fingernail.
Nicknamed The Missile, Magnussen was forced to watch United States' Nathan Adrian fire to victory after finishing in the silver medal position with a time of 47.53.
In a photo finish, Adrian pipped Magnussen by one hundredth of a second.
Making the turn just behind the leaders, Magnussen exploded to life and took the lead with only 20 metres to swim.
But right next to him was Adrian, keeping stroke-for-stroke with The Missile.
And in perhaps arguably the closest finish at these London Olympics, the American touched the wall by the merest of margins, but enough for Olympic gold.
"Yeah that hurts," a disappointed Magnussen said.
"I gave it my best tonight ... I've got no regrets.
Magnussen said it had been a hard week of swimming, suffering the disappointment of the men's 100 meter relay and now not fulfilling his billing as the fastest man in the pool.
"I've struggled a little but I've learnt a lot." he said.