Many grow up dreaming of winning an Olympic medal, of standing on the podium and basking in the applause and adoration of their supporters.
It is supposed to be a treasured moment of sheer delight, particularly after four years of hard work and graft all focused on the pinnacle of sporting achievement.
However, when you expect triumph and don't quite get it, sometimes misery is the overriding emotion.
Fans may not understand why these Olympians were so unhappy, but it all comes down to expectation and hope. The expectation of a gold medal and the hope connected with it being so close to grasp.
Team USA reacted to their 3-2 overtime loss to Canada in the women's ice hockey gold medal game with horror and dismay.
What made it so heartbreaking for these women was that they were leading by two goals with under four minutes left to play in regulation - indeed, they were still in the box seat with just 55 seconds to play.
The Americans, who were clinging to a one-goal lead late in the third period, simply could not accept that they had let a lead slip through their fingers in such agonising fashion - the gold evading them yet again.
Indeed, the team carried those emotions to the medal ceremony where they looked utterly distraught to even be there.
Perhaps one of the most enduring images of the Sochi Winter Games, Team USA showed the world that securing an Olympic medal is not always something to be happy about.
The Bolshoy Ice Dome was the scene of utter dejection and despair, for which we can only have sympathy.
It is, though, hard for fans to empathise when a stunning silver medal is the consolation prize.