Patty Mills tried his best to explain it to the international media after his Boomers had finally won an Olympic medal.
"The Aussie spirit is the Aussie spirit ... if you're Australian you understand what that is, especially when it comes to team sport," he said.
Mills was reflecting on the core of his side's career-long journey to get to that point, the Boomers' bronze their first Games or World Cup medal in their sixth third-place playoff to end a curse of sorts for Australian men's basketball.
Since 2008 Mills had prioritised the Boomers' Olympic aspirations despite the rigours of the NBA, where a growing number of teammates now play.
Gold evaded them thanks to a red-hot Kevin Durant in a semi-final loss to the star-studded United States.
Australia led by 15 points in that game, a sloppy 10 minutes their only blemish in an otherwise dominant Tokyo campaign that demonstrated the fine margins between success and failure.
The Matildas also notched an Olympics-best fourth place but were left wondering what could have been.
A last-gasp Sam Kerr goal saw them break Great Britain's hearts in a 4-3 extra time quarter-final win, before roles were reversed in 1-0 and 4-3 losses to Sweden and the United States to narrowly miss a maiden medal.
The Kookaburras' campaign was similarly bitter-sweet.
Unbeaten for the first time after the pool stage and into their first final since 2004, the men lost to heavyweight hockey nation Belgium in a dramatic penalty shootout.
The side trained among themselves in Perth in the lead-up to the Games, a handful of clashes with New Zealand their only international match play due to COVID-19 constraints.
But they still matched it with Europe's best, beating the Netherlands and Germany in knockout Games and dominating the dying stages of the final without scoring the goal that would have handed the team a second gold medal.
Australia's women's water polo team faced similar issues, unable to play an international opponent in the 16 months before the Games.
There were gold medal hopes though in four-time Olympian Bronwen Knox's farewell, until a gutting 9-8 quarter-final loss to Russia.
A fifth-place finish probably sold the Stingers short, while the Sharks beat Croatia during the group stage but a 2-3 record saw the men miss the quarter-final stage.
The Hockeyroos turned heads under recently-appointed coach Katrina Powell with some emphatic group stage form, winning all five games for the first time .
But "one of those days" against India will haunt them, the Hockeyroos' fairytale ruined in a huge 1-0 quarter-final upset loss after Rosie Malone had hit the post in the first 90 seconds.
The Olyroos had sent a statement to the world before Mills and Cate Campbell had even carried the flag at the opening ceremony, beating Argentina 2-0 to open the door for an unlikely finals run.
Frustrating losses to Spain (1-0) and Egypt (2-0) shut the door on that though, a feeling shared by the men's and women's rugby sevens outfits who fell short of their expectations a week later.
The national sevens program has come under scrutiny after both teams missed medals, the men producing a horror first half in their tournament opener against Argentina to set the tone.
A 14-12 loss to finalists New Zealand and a 19-0 loss to champions Fiji - they trailed 7-0 with just three minutes to play - showed they were not far off.
But fundamental mistakes haunted them in an eventual seventh-place finish, while their behaviour in the athletes' village and flight home following their competition also earned the ire of officials.
Golden girls in the sport's debut in Rio five years ago, the Australian women's sevens must now catch up to the pack.
Losses to the United States and then Fiji, both 14-12, left their Olympic title defence in tatters and had star Charlotte Caslick already plotting her 2024 Paris redemption.
And the Opals are back to the drawing board too ahead of a World Cup in Sydney next year, beaten convincingly by the United States after barely squeaking into the quarter-finals.
While the Boomers were able to manage Ben Simmons' absence, the last-minute withdrawal of WNBA All-Star Liz Cambage due to mental health reasons proved an insurmountable hurdle for the side.
Coach Sandy Brondello lamented that, and the lack of lead-up match play due to COVID-19, as huge disadvantages their battle-hardened rivals hadn't encountered.
AUSTRALIAN TEAM RESULTS
* Men's basketball - third (5-1 record)
* Women's basketball - seventh (1-3)
* Men's football - pool stage (1-2)
* Women's football - fourth (2-1-3)
* Men's hockey - second (6-1-1)
* Women's hockey - quarter-final (5-1)
* Men's rugby sevens - seventh (2-4)
* Women's rugby sevens - fifth (4-2)
* Women's water polo - fifth (5-2)
* Men's water polo - pool stage (2-3)
Australian Associated Press
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