The elite athlete in full flight can often seem superhuman, causing the ordinary sporting fan to sigh to himself and say: "That's talent."
But talent is found not just in the beauty and grace of sports, but also in its plodding toil.
And, like any other talent, not everyone possesses the transcendent capacity for hard work.
The Straits Times' assistant sports editor Rohit Brijnath sought to help 150 people better appreciate the oft-overlooked side of sporting aptitude, in the third instalment of the askST@NLB (National Library Board) sessions at the Central Public Library yesterday evening.
"I think hard work takes a certain commitment and not all athletes can do it," said Mr Brijnath.
He cited a story about golf great Tiger Woods, who was always the last person left practising at the driving range during training or tournaments.
Said Mr Brijnath: "It never made sense to me. If all the other golfers knew he was the best and the most hard-working, why weren't they at the range as well? So not all athletes have it."
The talk is the third of 12 askST@NLB sessions where ST journalists give free monthly talks on topics close to the heart of readers, as well as field questions from them.
Questions from the audience ranged from whether there were any athletes who rose to the top solely through hard work, to whether golf can even be considered a sport.
Mr Sam Loo, 48, asked Mr Brijnath about the state of the local football scene.
"I always like to talk to journalists about the different topics I'm interested in," said Mr Loo, who is self-employed and has attended several askST sessions.
"I am an avid reader of SPH (Singapore Press Holdings) newspapers - I subscribe to ST, Business Times and Lianhe Zaobao."
Mr Dylan Mah, 28, asked Mr Brijnath for his opinion on the difficult reality for most athletes that they will never become No. 1 in their chosen sport.
"Rohit is basically very well known in the sports circle, but I've never met him in person," said Mr Mah, who is pursuing a postgraduate law degree at the Singapore Management University.
"So I decided to come down today and just get inspired for a paper I'm writing on sports law."
The askST@NLB sessions are a joint effort between ST and the NLB.
Each session will run from 7pm to 8.30pm. Registration starts at 6pm and the 15-to 30-minute talks will be followed by a question-and-answer segment.
Last month's session was conducted by ST senior manpower correspondent Toh Yong Chuan, who shared about his experience of a mid-career switch to journalism.