You usually don't see a lot of emotion out of Christine Nesbitt, unless it's the fiery rage she has been known to unleash on the ice in long-track speed skating.
But a different side of Nesbitt came through on Thursday in Sochi. It was a small reminder that Olympic athletes, for all their feats, are human too. And when they don't win, it sometimes affects them deeply.
After placing a disappointing 9th in the 1000-metre race she won gold in four years ago, Nesbitt struggled to hold back tears.
She has endured a season plagued by injury and health problems that have knocked her around, and said she never really found her stride in what has historically been her finest distance.
"I already have an Olympic gold medal, of course I'd love to repeat, I'd love to bring home more medals, but no one can take away that medal," Nesbitt said as her voice quivered.
"I've been a clean athlete my whole life, I've been someone who's strived to be the best I can, and I'm really proud of myself. But it was a hard race today."
That's the one problem with a gold medal. Everyone expects you to do it again. And having to engineer a comeback from health woes and injury on the sport's biggest stage, almost seems unfair.
Nesbitt, 27, was diagnosed with celiac disease, or strong gluten intolerance, in 2013. It threw a wrench into her training for a long time before it was finally diagnosed. But that seems to have been the least of her worries.
Nesbitt shed some -- but not much -- light Thursday on other issues she has faced, namely a serious ongoing injury that has slowed her ability to train. She didn't go into detail, not wanting to make excuses, but said the problem was "basically an overuse injury" from skating too much.
"Speed skating is a weird sport in an unnatural position, and when you keep hammering on your body something's going to happen," she said. "And that's basically what happened."
It is a bitter twist: what made her so unbeatable in Vancouver -- the countless hours of training -- has ended up injuring her for Sochi.
"It's been such a crappy season, excuse my language, and every single thing, every time I feel like I'm getting better, something's happened or I haven't quite figured something out," she said.
Nesbitt's time of 1:15.62 was 1.6 seconds behind China's Hong Zhang, who won gold. Dutch skater Ireen Wust was 0.67 seconds back for silver, while Margot Boer of The Nehterlands was 0.88 seconds behind for bronze.
Nesbitt tried to be upbeat, and look forward to the upcoming 1500-metre race, and the team pursuit, where Canada's women have a shot at a medal. "I do believe that I am one of the best girls and that I should be able to contend for a medal," she said.
All in all, though, it was a trying day on the track for the Canadian women. Kaylin Irvine placed 18th (1:17.24), while Kali Christ finished 21st (1:17.41), and Brittany Schussler was 30th (1:18.53). Irvine's race in particular was filled with unfortunate glitches. Paired alongside German Monique Angermueller, the race began with a false start. Once it got going, Irvine was nearly toppled when Angermueller lost an edge and went careening into the padding. Irvine deftly sidestepped Angermueller at top-speed, but it cost her precious seconds.