Daegu, South Korea: Yelena Isinbayeva has transformed the sport of women's pole vault, but her latest underwhelming performance has seen her lose the aura she once enjoyed as out-and-out queen of the event.
The Russian, whose world record stands at 5.06m, could only manage sixth place at the world championships on Tuesday, her audacious gamesmanship backfiring when she failed to clear 4.75 and then 4.80m after coming in late.
The result adds to Isinbayeva's poor recent record in global champs: she finished fourth at the 2010 world indoors and crashed out of the last worlds in Berlin in 2009 without registering a height.
"These moments happen in life," acknowledged the 29-year-old Isinbayeva, who completely dominated the sport's medal table from 2005 through to her Berlin apocalypse.
Even after that debacle two years ago, the lissom Russian shook off any bad memories and set a new world record just a week later at a Diamond League meeting in Zurich.
"This was a difficult day for me," Isinbayeva said of her Daegu outing. "The poles I used were very soft.
"If I was not in good shape, I would not be here today. My physical shape was very good. Everything was ready for a victory but I do not know what went wrong. I am very sad. This is not the result I wanted.
"I'm disappointed but I'm now focusing on next year's Olympic Games," added the two-time Olympic and double world champion, named Female Athlete of the Year by the IAAF in 2004, 2005 and 2008.
"I'm trying to forget everything that happened here today and I'll go to London with everything in my memory deleted.
"There's still more to come," she warned.
Eventual gold medallist Fabiana Murer of Brazil, who won with a best of 4.85m, had words of comfort for the Russian, with whom she often trains in Italy.
"It is difficult for her," the 30-year-old Murer said. "She hasn't had a good year because she changed her coach and changed the technique and everything is difficult when you first change.
"You need some time to adjust. I believe in her and I think she can continue jumping next year."
Murer, whose coach Elson De Souza has spent time with Sergey Bubka's legendary coach Vitaliy Petrov, the one-time handler of Isinbayeva, added that she had learnt a lot from her Russian rival.
"When I met her for the first time I thought she was a person who doesn't have feelings, that she is brave, she can jump anytime, she is strong but then when I started to speak with her I learned she is a normal person," she said.
"Then I thought, if she jumps and she is a normal person then it's possible if I continue to train I can improve.
"I tried to do my best and of course she was stronger and she was faster. I tried to get closer to her but I know my limits. I am not so strong and not so fast. So I tried to improve my technique because of this."
Isinbayeva is the only women's vaulter to have cleared the 5.00m barrier and the Brazilian said she would like to be the next.
"Five metres is my dream," she said. "I want to jump 5m but of course it is not easy. It is very hard. It is high, 5m.
"I think it's possible. I did a good attempt at 4.90m. I think it's real now and maybe five metres next year."