When Japanese diver Ken Terauchi, 41 this week, qualified to dive at his record-breaking sixth Olympic Games in his home nation, he surely would have envisioned performing in front of a full house of cheering Japanese fans in what is very likely to be his final Olympics.
For safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tokyo Aquatics Center stands were empty as Terauchi progressed through the men's 3m springboard competition, ultimately making it through to Tuesday's final round.
Immediately following Terauchi on the start list, Mexico's Rommel Pacheco, 35, had already revealed that the Tokyo Olympics, his fourth Games, would be his last. He served as one of Mexico's two flagbearers during the Opening Ceremony.
In the sixth and final round of dives, with both divers out of contention for medals and facing likely the last dives of their respective Olympic careers, both delivered their highest-scoring dives of the day: a 74.40-point forward 3 1/2 somersaults from Terauchi and a breathtaking 96.90-point forward 4 1/2 somersaults from Pacheco.
However, the beauty of the dives paled in comparison to what happened next. Both divers emerged from the diving well to thunderous applause from their fellow competitors. For two brief moments just a minute or so apart, every diver, coach and trainer in the venue was simply a fan of diving, saluting two legends of the sport.
The competition was ultimately won by Xie Siyi of China, at the youthful age of 25.