It was not the fairy-tale ending sports fans wanted - Usain Bolt was beaten in the IAAF World Championships 100 metres final on Saturday.
Less than 24 hours later he returned to the scene of his defeat to receive a bronze medal for finishing behind Championships debutant Christian Coleman and long-time rival - and new world champion - Justin Gatlin.
Just as after the final, Bolt received nothing but affection from his adoring fans inside London Stadium, saluting them repeatedly throughout the ceremony.
As he made his way back to the tunnel to exit, the crowd stirred again and chanted the Jamaican's name. He responded by deploying his trademark 'Lightning Bolt' celebration, much to the delight of all in attendance.
A REMINDER OF HISTORY
While Bolt's individual career failed to end in golden fashion, he still has a chance to go out as a champion in the 4x100m relay on Saturday.
And the 30-year-old issued a reminder of why he is considered the greatest of all-time with a video posted on Twitter alongside the word "history".
Defeat clearly hasn't affected Bolt's confidence!
-- Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) August 6, 2017
BALE, BUFFON PAY TRIBUTE
As the world begins to face up to the prospect of life without an active Usain Bolt, Real Madrid star Gareth Bale took to Twitter offer praise.
"Watched @usainbolt for over a decade ignite the world! #goat #respect," he tweeted.
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon offered an articulate tribute via Instagram. He wrote: "Every story has its end. And when the beginning is extraordinary, the end has to be one to remember.
"The fastest man of all times, the lightning of athletics retires. Inevitable. And yet incredible. As it has been his entire career.
"But in life you never really stop running. You just do it on a different track. So keep on running Lightning Bolt. While the world still tries to reach you."
Every story has its end. And when the beginning is extraordinary, the end has to be one to remember. The fastest man of all times, the lightning of athletics retires. Inevitable. And yet incredible. As it has been his entire career. But in life you never really stop running. You just do it on a different track. So keep on running Lightning Bolt. While the world still tries to reach you. . . . . Ogni inizio ha anche una fine. E quando l'inizio è straordinario, la fine non può che essere memorabile. L'uomo più veloce di tutti i tempi, il fulmine dell'atletica si ritira. Inevitabile. Ma al tempo stesso incredibile. Come tutta la sua carriera. Ma nella vita non si smette mai di correre. Si cambia solo pista. Quindi continua a correre Lightning #Bolt. Mentre il mondo continuerà a provare a raggiungerti.
Three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten expressed what he had learned from Bolt's magnificent career.
"[Thanks] for your combined lessons of effort, passion and happiness all day long!!!" he said.
BELATED BIRTHDAY PRESENT?
Had Bolt won the gold he would have been presented with it on Jamaica's Independence Day.
Perhaps he can offer a delayed gift six days later when he returns to the track to bring the curtain down on his career.