It used to be a mere formality that Mo Farah made the British team for the Olympics and World Championships.
Such was his dominance over the 5,000 and 10,000metres that he rarely needed to attend the British Athletics Championships to warrant selection.
In 2021, the contrast could not be more stark. A 25-lap pacemaking spectacle has effectively been created for him in Manchester on Friday night to have a final shot at a final Olympics.
There are critics that suggest such a manufactured race is unfair favouritism, although it is hard to argue that Farah has not earned some level of special dispensation after six world titles, five European crowns and four Olympic golds.
What chance of a fifth? On the evidence of the past year on the track, the indicators do not immediately lean to that.
Going into major championships, he often had the field already beaten on the start line, toying with them in the early part of the race and flitting from back to front before engaging his final lap kick and leaving the might of Ethiopia and Kenya in his wake as he produced his trademark Mobot celebration over the line.
At the 10,000m trials, he could not even get into the head of his British rival Marc Scott, who won to leave Farah in third, outside the qualifying time and with his Olympic hopes dangling by a thread.
The indicators from Farah’s camp are that his training sessions suggest the required time of 27 minutes and 28 seconds ought to be a mere formality, and aiding his cause will be his training partner Bashir Abdi.
And the ankle niggle, which was blamed for his lacklustre previous performance on British soil for the distance, is now in the past, with Farah even claiming his previous failure will prove to his benefit in Tokyo.
“It was probably the best thing that could have happened for me,” he said. “I was injured, I was suffering and, if I’d gone to the Olympics at that moment, I don’t think I’d have been anywhere near my peak.”
Farah’s last-ditch attempt to qualify will not be on the BBC after the broadcaster opted not to show the trials. Instead, it will be shown live on British Athletics’ YouTube channel.
It is not only Farah that mainstream viewers will miss with Dina Asher-Smith, the 200m world champion, and Laura Muir, one of Britain’s leading medal contenders at middle-distance, also aiming to book her place on the plane to Tokyo.