When he evoked Shakespeare's The Tempest at the opening ceremony he seems to have summoned an ill wind that has blown away Caledonian hopes of medals. The first act, at least, of this drama of London 2012 has turned out to be a tragedy rather than a comedy.
The trend of Scottish hope dashed on the rocks of reality continued yesterday on the waters of a country park on the outskirts of London and in soulless arenas in Wembley and Canning Town. All specialised in breaking Scottish hearts.
It was the rural idyll that became the most shocking scene of the day. David Florence, silver medallist in Beijing and world No.1, was far from guaranteed a medal, especially in such a capricious sport as the canoe slalom. However, his fortunes sunk lower than just missing out on a podium place. The strong favourite did not make the final, picking up a two-second penalty in the semi-final to finish 10th and ending a four-year campaign with stunning abruptness.
Far from the turbulent water of the Lee Valley White Water Centre, Euan Burton, 33, of Edinburgh, was also a victim of the curse of sudden departure under the Olympic flag in the judo competition. Also in the Excel, Richard Kruse, the Scottish international fencer, lost in the men's foil clashes to Russian Artur Akhmatkhuzin, while, at Wembley, Susan Egelstaff departed the badminton competition after a doughty campaign. Burton and Kruse, 29, signalled that the Olympic experience was over for them while 29-year-old Egelstaff indicated that her target was now the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.
It was Burton who created a social media storm with his emotional interview after his defeat by Antoine Valois-Fortier of Canada in the second round of the under 81kg category tournament, after receiving a bye in the first round at the Excel Arena, a venue that saw another Scot, Sarah Clark, last just more than five minutes in the under 57kgs on Monday.
"It's tough to take, it's a loss in the biggest tournament in the world, the biggest tournament Britain is going to see in my lifetime," said Burton. "I can't take away any positives from this experience whatsoever; I feel like I've let my family down, my coaches, everybody I've ever trained. I've been working for this for over a quarter of a century and I'm pretty sure you won't see me in Rio in 2016." This interview was broadcast and produced a massive Twitter reaction.
Kruse was similarly downbeat, saying: "My sharpness isn't there and I'm not performing as well as I was able to in Beijing four years ago. I must be getting too old."
Florence, Burton and Kruse were all to varying degrees medal prospects and had cause for regret. Egelstaff, in contrast, put in two strong performances, defeating Maja Tvrdy of Slovenia in straight games in her opening contest and losing over three games yesterday to 12th seed Sayaka Sato of Japan.
This was not the experience of Florence, whose form deserted him at the vital moment, producing an under-par performance that saw him lose out on a final place by just more than a second. This timespan amounts to both a pause before breath and a chasm between failure and glory.
"For the last four years this is what I've wanted to achieve. It's what every day of my life's been about," he said . "But the thing about competing in a sport like canoe slalom is you get so used to massive highs and also massive disappointments. Any of the athletes in that field, no matter how good or how bad, have had huge disappointments and it's a part of the sport you have to accept."
He added: "I came here to do a lot better than that. I didn't put in a good enough run and it didn't go my way and it has been the race I wanted to perform at for the last four years. I don't think I would have changed a thing about the way I've trained, prepared and approached it. That's just canoe slalom."
Florence, who was promoted as a heavy favourite, did not believe he had suffered under a burden of expectation. The packed stands roared out for the Scot and there was a stunned silence when it became apparent that he was not about to reach the final. His race unravelled badly when he struck gate 18 and he finished third slowest on 1.06.16. The medals were won by Tony Estanguet of France (gold), Sideris Tasiadis of Germany (silver) and Michal Martikan of Slovakia (bronze) in front of a huge, cheering crowd.
"'There was no detrimental effect to my performance today from the crowd support," Florence insisted. "I just didn't put in a good enough run when I needed to. The crowd have been absolutely fantastic. You won't hear me say it was the crowd's fault I did not perform. I'm sorry for them I'm not in the final for them to shout on me again."
There is, however, another opportunity for the Scot. He and Richard Houslow will compete in the C2 semi-finals tomorrow. "Most people wouldn't normally have another chance," said Florence. "I'm lucky I do and I'll be giving it my absolute best. I'm pretty practised at putting this out my mind to go again. It would be very silly to let a huge disappointment like this affect what is another fantastic opportunity," he said.
"I'll be competing against other guys who haven't had a first chance of getting a medal in the singles so I might as well approach it as a standalone too."
Florence lives to an adage he has oft repeated: "The race is long but it is always with yourself." He believes he measured up to this yesterday. "I don't know if I've let myself down because I did everything I could. I'm disappointed and frustrated not to have made the final and I had a chance to do that, but that's the way of the sport."
This philosophical attitude, expressed calmly, was only a disguise for the obvious ache that Florence was enduring. But he said: "I've two days to regroup before going out in the C2. l'll be giving it my absolute all."
The sportsman in Florence was rearing his head. The philosopher may reflect before he takes to the water tomorrow that there is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. The words are from Shakespeare, of course, as Florence seeks shelter from the tempest Mr Boyle seems to have called up.