Pain, and emptiness for Feng
Feng poor as women's team fail to win Olympic medal
This time, Feng Tianwei will feel the ultimate hurt.
She has only ever known joy at the Olympics, she has been the inspiration for the Singapore women's table tennis team for years - a world-class paddler who has always brought home medals from her adventures at the Games.
Twice she returned with metal, on her debut at Beijing 2008 as a key member of the women's team that won silver, and from London 2012 with team and singles bronze.
Four years later here in Rio, at the first Olympic Games in South America, she will fly home empty.
Yesterday, in the battle for third in the women's team event, Feng, the world No. 4, was all at sea when she was meant to inspire, mistake-riddled when once she was deadly, confused and timid when she used to be fearless.
Singapore fell to Japan 3-1 and, for the first time since 2004, the women's table tennis team have failed to win an Olympic medal.
If the sad Singapore story centred on their best player, then Japan's winning script revolved around debutante, Mima Ito, all of 15 years old.
Hardly cowed, impish and with a bucket load of talent, the first chapter of her Olympic story starts with a star turn and a bronze medal around her neck.
It had all started so well for Singapore, when Yu Mengyu showed wonderful temperament to down Japan's No. 1 Ai Fukuhara 3-2.
Yu, making her debut at these Olympics, was heartbroken when she lost in the quarter-finals of the singles event as the 27-year-old knew she could have at least reached the last four.
Amidst loud cheers from the big Japanese support contingent, who were backed up by a sizeable group of noisy Brazilians with a penchant for chanting "Nippon, Nippon", the Singapore paddler proved her mettle by hanging tough against her higher-ranked opponent.
Yu lost the first game easily, but regrouped to win the next two, before dismantling Fukuhara in the decisive fifth for the win (4-11, 11-5, 11-3, 4-11, 11-5) that handed Singapore the opening match.
There was wind in the Singapore sail, with the experienced Feng up next, the team could land a decisive blow in their quest for the prize of bronze.
Alas, the 29-year-old continued to play a game that was mostly unrecognisable from her usual displays.
Feng was poor when she lost in the quarter-finals to Fukuhara here last week. She owned a 14-3 record against the Japanese but succumbed against her red-hot opponent then.
Perhaps it was an indication that all was not right with her game.
She lost decisively to Kasumi Ishikawa 3-0 (12-10, 11-6, 11-7) in the second singles and suddenly, the Japanese were on the front foot.
Ito and Fukuhara, like twins at the table, combined fluidly to beat Yu and Zhou Yihan 3-1 (9-11, 11-9, 11-1, 14-12) in the doubles match, and the stage was set for the battle between the young upstart and the veteran.
In a quite stunning performance of nerveless table tennis, aided by a meek display by Feng, Ito romped to a 3-0 win (11-9, 11-4, 11-6) to spark joyous celebrations in the Japanese camp, and a feeling of emptiness in the Singapore women's table tennis team.
After Joseph Schooling's gold, they could have sealed a wonderful outing for Team Singapore in Rio.
Instead, there were only tears.
With Feng battle-scarred and increasingly prone to injury, the Singapore Table Tennis Association will have to regroup and come up with a battle plan to return to winning ways at Tokyo 2020.
After her loss to Fukuhara in the singles, I asked Feng if her experience here was any different to what she went through in 2008 and 2012.
She said she had learned to enjoy the Olympic experience more this time around. She still had the team event to look forward to at the time.
Today, she will only be feeling empty, and the agony of Olympic defeat.