It's hard to imagine how trap shooter Natalie Rooney must feel right now.
The pinnacle of sport is the Olympics, and for 11 days she thought she was about to realise a dream.
A dream she only just missed achieving four years ago at Beijing.
Put yourself in her shoes.
You get a letter saying you're in the team. No doubt it will contain congratulatory words. Given the event starts in just three weeks, there may even have been mention of travel arrangements, uniforms and the like.
But you aren't able to say anything publicly. You wait for the announcement from the New Zealand Olympic Committee.
Internally you'd be hugely excited. And proud. And nervous. All at once.
You'd start to change your life to fit the new schedule. Cancelling commitments, making plans.
Training would take on a whole new focus.
And you wait ... and wait.
Then, a sniff of trouble. You become aware of an appeal by the shooter whose place you were scheduled to fill.
You have nothing against this person, but you wonder how a decision not to allow him to go, a decision that would not have been taken lightly in the first place, could now be overturned.
By the submission of information that was available all the time, but apparently misinterpreted.
And, naturally, you feel gutted.
How could the Olympic committee raise your hopes like that, only to then strip them away? Did it have no inkling at all an appeal was possible? How could it even accept an appeal after posting out your letter?
You'd wonder about appealing yourself, wouldn't you?
But Natalie Rooney hasn't done that. Instead she's sent a letter voicing her disappointment over how she's been treated, while also wishing fellow shooter Ryan Taylor all the best. That's admirable.
And yes, at 24 there's still time to be selected for the Olympics.
But that's not the point. The point is, she already was selected.
She has the letter to prove it.
And that's the bit I don't get. What does she do with that letter now?
- © Fairfax NZ News