Ronnie Delany's status as the last Irish person to win an Olympic gold medal survived so long 1956 came to seem as immutable a date in our history as 1916 or 1798.
Then one magical morning, along came Michael Carruth to change all that. Wayne McCullough seemed the more likely candidate for gold but he was well beaten in the bantamweight final by Cuba's Joel Casamayor.
The Cubans fought eight finals that day in Atlanta, losing just two of them, and world welterweight champion Juan Hernandez Sierra looked one of their bankers.
However, no one had told the man from Drimnagh who, right from the opening bell, took the fight to his opponent and thoroughly deserved his 13-10 victory.
His leaps of joy across the ring when the verdict was announced remains a precious Olympic memory. For all the power of our current amateur boxing programme, his feat has yet to be emulated. Those golds are very hard things to win.