David Smith has found out there's no such thing as a free ride, even if you are a rare Australian gold medallist from the London Olympics.
Smith, a member of Australia's gold medal-winning K4 1000m men's kayaking team, was slugged with a A$700 (NZ$900) fine by a vigilant police officer for driving an unregistered vehicle just a few hours after touching down in Sydney.
Smith and his girlfriend, Australian sailing silver medallist Nina Curtis, were on the final leg of their return trip to Wollongong when the officer pulled them over in Engadine, about 24km south of the airport.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for the 25-year-old, who had parked the car in Sydney while he trained his way to Olympic glory.
"I've been overseas for the past four months and unfortunately the car ran out of registration a week ago," Smith said.
"We landed and jumped into the car to drive home, and then the next you know, the sirens came on.
"We haven't got emails or received paperwork, and the last thing you look at after being four months away is your car registration when you go for a drive.
"I'm a bit disappointed with the fact I got a A$700 fine, but oh well, it's the law - what can you do?"
Asked whether he had considered dangling his gold medal in front of the officer in a bid to explain his simple oversight, Smith said: "I don't think that was going to help. We gave him the story that we'd just got home from the Olympics and he wasn't really interested."
Who do you think are the most aggressive drivers on the road?Related story: SUV drivers most aggressive
Gear up for that big holiday drive
Tips on how to do a safe river crossing
On the road and prepared for the cold snap