SA's men's four crew (Christiaan Kotze/SASPA)
Rio de Janeiro - It was the darkest of days for the South African rowing team at the Rio Olympics on Friday.
Four boats in four finals yielded no medals for Team South Africa, and the disappointment was etched all over the faces of the 10 rowers that emerged from the water at Lagoa Stadium.
There was no story more heartbreaking than that of the men's four, who looked on course to win bronze before they were overtaken by the Italians in the final 200m.
It left Jake Green, Vincent Breet, Jonty Smith and David Hunt devastated despite them having exceeded expectations by a mile.
Few had given them a chance of even making the final with the crew having only formed this year.
"In a couple of days time we'll probably look back and be really proud of ourselves. But right now, having been in the bronze medal position for 1900m of a 2000m race, you can't feel anything but disappointment unfortunately," Hunt said.
"We'll just have to take a little bit of time and console ourselves."
And Smith had some ideas of how to go about feeling a little better.
"What's happened has happened and we'll be going to see family now and a hug from a loved one will probably do us a little good," he said.
"Maybe some beers for us and for the lightweights some chocolate cake. There'll be some small victories even after a defeat and we'll find them, don't you worry."
Lloyd Burnard is Sport24's correspondent in Rio de Janeiro for the duration of the 2016 Olympics ...