Usain Bolt and Mo Farah both ended without a World Athletics Championships gold on Saturday
Both Bolt and Farah had plans to race again after the championships but at much smaller events and the schedule had allowed both athletes to book their leaving parties from the world athletics scene on the same night.
Their career successes dictated that they should both leave with gold medals hanging around their neck but there were a number of party-poopers on hand to steal a portion of the limelight.
After being beaten by the American pair of Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman in the 100m, Bolt had hoped to add relay gold to his individual bronze, a triumph that would have brought him his 20th championship title for Jamaica.
Usain Bolt refused the offer of a wheelchair despite collapsing with an injury
And it looked set to be the Americans who would stand in his way after they ran a world-leading time of 37.70s in the heats.
It was though the Brits who led from the blocks, Adam Gemili running a sparkling second leg to out-do Gatlin who was playing the same role for the Americans.
He handed the baton on in perfect style to Darren Talbot who maintained the lead around the top bend before giving Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake enough of a lead that he might be able to hold off the chasing Coleman and crucially Bolt.
But the cheers for the British quartet were briefly interrupted by gasps as, with 50m to go, the lanky Jamaican writhed in sudden pain, a hamstring cramp ending his career in the most unpleasant way.
A wheelchair was brought out onto the track for the stricken Bolt who refused to exit the arena in such a way, instead taking a lap of the stadium to wave goodbye to his adoring fans, who may never see a sprinter of such epic talent again in their lifetime.
The drama wasn’t done there though. Gatlin revealed afterwards he thought the cold was likely to have played a part in Bolt’s injury while Jamaica’s Yohan Blake could not contain his anger that organisers had allowed the women’s high jump medal ceremony to delay the start of the race.
“They were holding us too long,” Blake said.
“To be holding us so long was atrocious.
“Usain was getting cold and he said ‘I don’t like this’.
“They were holding us too long.
“Too many presentations so the race was 10 minutes long. It was cold.”
If it was a foible of the schedule that played a major role in Bolt’s demise, it will be a mere footnote in the history of the sport which he has rewritten over the course of his career.
Usain Bolt repeatedly apologised to his Jamaica team-mates after pulling up
His dominance of the sport in the 21st century has perhaps only been matched by Farah, but he too ended on something of a bum note, having to be content with silver in a hard-fought 5,000m final.
The Brit had given his team their only medal of the games so far when he lined up for his final 5k, hoping to become world champion for a staggering 11th time.
But the Ethiopians had a plan.
“Tactically, I was trying to cover every move but they had a game-plan,” Farah said.
Mo Farah was beaten by Muktar Edris in a captivating 5,000m race
“One of them was going to sacrifice themselves and that’s what they did tonight.
“The better man won on the day but I gave it all.”
That man was Muktar Edris who will, along with which ever invisible sniper downed Bolt, be remembered as the pair who ruined what was supposed to be a triumphant farewell for the two great champions.
There were still multiple British medals on the night. The men won a stunning gold which almost overshadowed Bolt’s demise and the women, who finished third in Rio and ran onto the track to celebrate with their counterparts, grabbed a deserved silver.
Asha Philip, Desiree Henry, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita took relay silver
"To upgrade from Olympic bronze to world silver with these girls has been absolutely incredible, and to do it at home means so much,” said Dina Asher-Smith, who ran the third leg and also came agonisingly close to an individual bronze in the 200m despite breaking her foot earlier this season.
"Thank you so much to this incredible crowd.
“What a lift they have us. We are so proud to win the medal in London."