From the diary of Edwin Flack of Australia, 1500m gold medalist in the Athens games of 1896:
"April 12, 1896. My mates and I took steerage from Athens around the southern horn of Greece including Olympia appropriately enough and have been without a wink for two straight days and nights, but no bother. In our frenzied joy at our results in Athens (I took a medal of gold in both the 800 and 1500 by our Lord!) it is wonder we remembered even to eat much less to sleep or rest. Our nights are filled with song and carousing and I must confess I may have stolen a kiss or two from a blushing Betty onboard. We're bound for Switzerland via Italy, there to run a 1000m race in which I hope to scrawl my name in the book of athletic history as one of god's greatest running creations. Time will tell and any man's another's equal on any day the sun shines, but god and the stars above know I'm fit and I've a will to make my name in this all-important kilometer."
"April 22, 1896. I live in squalor. The pigs who root and snort and grunt in the pen I pass each day on my way to Lausanne proper to beg enjoy far better provisions than I. Danny, Ian and Nick have long since returned to Perth, but I remain here, a man without a country, a lost soul, a disgraced being, an individual about whom it may be said, 'Perhaps no blighted spirit yet alive has suffered as has poor Ed Flack does now.' I was high and stout after Athens. I rode a draft that lifted me to the heavens and filled me with nothing but hope for Lausanne. But my soaring expectations met with devastation there in ways I cannot even now apprehend and barely can deign to convey to you, Dear Diary. I toed the line of the kilometer - Oh, the kilometer! The distance of the Gods! The one and true test of man! - I took my place there in lane 3 and dug in with my right and stronger foot determined to take my place among the immortals of my pursuit and confident of victory. But alas...the men who toed that line to my left and right cared not about Athens and the splendor of my results there. They, too, thought only of victory and perhaps were spurred to greater effort in hopes of adding sheen to their names by way of stolen glory. They wanted the skin of an olympic champion and I did nothing to deter them from that aim. The gun went off and the great Souledam of Africa shot from the start as if he himself were a bullet fired from that gun. My view of the track was immediately obscured by the jostling backs of 6 or 7 of my competitors and I struggled of an instant to keep pace. In a blink 400 meters were gone and still I could not make up ground, my pitiful legs plodding heavily beneath me as if each was weighted down by not two but 100 golden medals. With 800 meters gone I was so far in arears of the pack I began to contemplate leaping the fence that lined the track and taking refuge under the bleachers that lined its finishing stretch. My humiliation grew with every stride until at last I crossed the finish 6th among the combatants, dead last on history's scroll of honor. Why and how I'd come so low I didn't know. My head swirled. My lungs burned. My shame swelled greater by the moment, rolling over me like waves on the beach at Graincut Home where I never can return. The other runners would not look me in the eye. They knew as I did that I had failed the only test that ever in man's days would matter. And it rang in my head like a death knell: "The Post-Olympic Kilometer! The Post-Olympic Kilometer!" I knew standing there in the cinders of Lausanne that my fate was carried in the leaden chime of those words: The Post-Olympic Kilometer. It was my humiliation, my ultimate defeat, my spirit's death. Utterly devastated, I could not even dare return home.