CATHY Freeman has lost the spark. The Olympic gold medallist announced to the world this week that she will retire from international running.
And with the forthright honesty that she's renowed for, she told the world why: "I don't have the same hunger. I know what it takes to be a champion, to be the best in the world, and I just don't have that feeling right now. I'm tired all of a sudden."
No doubt Freeman anguished over her decision for some time before going public.
Certainly, the rumours had been doing the rounds for months.
It would have been easy for Freeman to continue.
Physically she was up to it, and her legions of fans wouldn't have objected.
But Freeman knew her time was up. Mentally, she had lost it.
She had struggled for form in recent years, hampered no doubt, by a bitter split with partner and manager Nick Bideau, her husband Sandy Bodecker's battle with cancer and the subsequent break-up of their marriage.
After the glory of Sydney, it was always going to be hard for her to climb back to the top.
Her decision to step down says a lot about the person she is - courageous and dignified.
Whatever the future holds for Cathy Freeman, there can be no denying that she is both a great athlete and a great Australian.