Few enter the category of athletes who transcend their sport, those once-in-a-decade types even Nick Kyrgios sees as "gods".
Most among them are seen for what they are. As supremely gifted as they may be on a court, in a ring or on a field, they are mere mortals.
By his own admission Australian tennis star Kyrgios fits into the latter. A human, one he hopes is relatable to the average punter. But you can't deny he is a showman.
Which goes some way towards explaining the 26-year-old firebrand's decision to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympic Games.
"The thought of playing in front of empty stadiums just doesn't sit right with me. It never has," Kyrgios wrote on social media when explaining his decision to withdraw.
Most have been supportive. Some wonder why basketballer Ben Simmons failed to received the same support when he brushed the Boomers' gold medal tilt.
Kyrgios feeds off the energy of a crowd but would have been asked to play in front of empty stands in an individual sport, at an event one many of tennis' biggest names have baulked at.
So instead of being holed up in a room inside the athlete's village, Kyrgios is in the Bahamas recovering from an abdomen injury suffered in his third-round loss at Wimbledon last week.
He could play in Atlanta in the same week of the Olympics - a far less taxing environment for a man who has been honest about his mental struggles.
Simmons opted out of a team sport. His would-be teammates are supposed to have their greatest chance at a medal, but they now have to do it without him. He withdrew to work on skill development and then spent his week at Wimbledon.
Simmons rarely seemed a lock for the Olympics. Nor did Kyrgios, but he has never hid from the spotlight.
"It's a decision I didn't make lightly. It's been my dream to represent Australia at the Olympics and I know I may never get that opportunity again," Kyrgios said.
"But I also know myself. The thought of playing in front of empty stadiums just doesn't sit right with me. It never has.
"I also wouldn't want to take an opportunity away from a healthy Aussie athlete ready to represent the country. I will also take all the time I need to get my body right.
"I'll see you back on the court real soon."
Kyrgios had been toying with the idea of walking away from the chance to represent Australia at the Games in the midst of a global pandemic which kept him off the international circuit for 18 months.
The Olympics are set to go ahead without crowds after the Japanese government declared a state of emergency with Tokyo health officials scrambling to get a spike in case numbers under control.
Athletes will be tested daily and are unable to mingle with others in the village. They are restricted to the athlete's village, training and competition venues.
Australian athletes and coaching staff are to leave the country within 48 hours of their competition finishing. Most will be gone inside 24 on either charter or commercial flights.
So who could blame Kyrgios for turning his back on the Olympics when so much of what he loves about the Games is taken away?
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