The man from Guam did not last very long at the Olympic cross country cycling race on Sunday but Derek Horton deserved a medal just for getting himself on the startline.
The 39-year-old managed just two of the six laps on the undulating course overlooking the Thames Estuary before falling so far behind he was shepherded off the course by race officals.
Riders falling "80 percent" behind are not allowed to continue, according to the rules.
However, with his knee bleeding and his lungs burst it was probably just as well because despite the cheers of thousands of fans ringing in his ears he may well have still been riding the around the course when the closing ceremony starts later.
"I was gasping for air," he told Reuters after getting his breath back in the finish area. "The lights just went out."
Hardly surprising as Horton, one of eight citizens of the remote Pacific island competing at the Olympics, has never had to deal with a course as demanding as the one specially built for the London Olympics.
Packed with leg-burning climbs and rocky descents taken flat out by the likes of race winner Jaroslav Kulhavy, it was a serious test for the world's elite, let alone a man who works in a bike shop and had to scrape together $6 000 of his own money just to qualify for the Olympics.
Still, at least he remained in one piece, to the relief of his watching wife and four-year-old daughter.
"I just wanted to conquer my biggest fears," said Horton who crashed heavily in practice this week.
"That stupid Rock Garden. I did it today! That (part of the course) scared me the most but I did it today.
"The crowd were crazy. They love an underdog.
"One more month of preparation and maybe then it wouldn't have hurt so bad."
While the IOC helped finance his London adventure, Horton's second Olympics after Sydney in 2000, the costs of making round trips of 3 000 or 4 000 miles to compete and go through Olympic qualifying in New Zealand came from his own pocket.
"I paid for my own trip to qualify, every time we travel it's out of our own pocket," he said. "I had to quit my job to come here - I help run a bike shop."
At least he will return home with some new friends, especially the volunteers who took a shine to him.
"Mentally I wasn't prepared for the course but every day (in practice) I came out and did a lap or two. I din't want to get hurt, so I just rode around talking to the volunteers and told them all to cheer for me."
His riding days are not over.
"I'll ride until I'm 90," he said. But there will no more Olympics.
"That's it," he said. "My wife and I had an agreement. She would help me with this one, we did it together, but no more."