In these times of pampered athletes taking to social media to vent about feelings hurt by mega-salaries that they feel do not adequately compensate them for their contributions, or express their angst by the perception of a lack of the proper degree of respect from team management, teammates, media and fans, the decision by Gold Coast swimmer Cameron McEvoy to drop the 200 m freestyle from his Rio Olympics program in order to save energy for the 4 x 100 m freestyle relay on the same day is an act of complete selflessness.

By dropping the 200 m, McEvoy sacrifices his chance to become the first Australian swimmer in Olympics history to win six medals at one Games. He will now take part in two individual events, the 50 and 100 m freestyle, along with all three of the relays the Australian men’s’ team is participating in.

It was reminiscent of Craig Stevens standing aside for Ian Thorpe in the 2004 Athens Games.

McEvoy’s gesture of team ahead of self is a calculated one, the thinking being that it offers the strong potential of Australia earning another gold medal in Rio. He could well have dropped relay if he was overly concerned about the workload, but in giving up the 200 m, arguably his worst event, he will not have to swim to finals in one day.