The graph of greatness in sport rarely involves a purely vertical line. It surges upwards and dips. It rises and flattens. Even climbers to Mount Everest must halt at various camps. Some ascents are quicker, others plod unevenly towards the summit.
Either way this ride to be an athletic champion offers only one guarantee: Hiccups are inevitable, even necessary. Even Novak Djokovic, who has redefined tennis, took 36 months between winning his first Grand Slam title and his second. The great career is like those exquisite old churches which take a while to build.