IT is one of the most attractive truths of a stunning night in Rio that a victory for a Scot who has won $50 million on court should articulate the true meaning of amateurism.

Andy Murray’s accumulation of Olympic medals now stretches to three (two singles golds and a mixed doubles silver) but this tangible proof of greatness is but one measure of what he has achieved in an arena once prized for its values. The Olympics has become tarnished, perhaps irrevocably so, by the depredations of drugs scandals and systemic corruption. But something good can survive. The amateur endures.

The definition of amateur has been corrupted to mean someone who does something for no pay or, worse, someone who does something badly.

But Murray has always been a true amateur, clinging instinctively if not consciously to the etymology of the term which states the amateur is “a lover” of something. The Scot could only do what he does if he had a love for it. This is a statement so much of the bleeding-obvious variety that it almost requires a suture. But it may reward further scrutiny as it lays bare Murray’s motivations, beliefs and, indeed, personality.

The truism is that the Olympics are not the pinnacle for tennis players and golfers. Yet Murray has said that bearing the Olympic flag on behalf of his team-mates was the greatest moment of his career. What? Better than a couple of Wimbledon titles? More significant than that first major, the US Open in 2012? More of a communal joy than that heady afternoon in Ghent last winter when he led, cajoled and carried Team GB to a Davis Cup?

The simple answer to all of the above is yes. Murray has obvious gifts but dissembling is not among them. He says what he believes, not always to his benefit.

He has become the true Olympian because he has also taken the meaning of an amateur as one not playing for financial profit to almost absurd levels. The mass of those striving on the courts, course, pools, tracks and arenas of Rio will be doing so because of that drive that fuels all athletes but also in recognition that the Olympics provides the greatest showcase for their disciplines. They may also be aware that gold, silver or bronze will be followed by financial riches.

This is not the case for Murray, or for Justin Rose, the Englishman who won gold in the golf. The golf event was affected by call-offs, with many potential competitors citing fears over the Zika virus. This contention can be addressed bluntly. If Zika virus sufferers had been receiving attention on the 18th green at Royal Troon during the Open Championships, the golfers would merely have putted around them. The pull-outs would have been counted on the fingers of a boxing glove.

There was another almost unspoken consideration for golfers and tennis players and that is the matter of branding. Olympic competitors must wear the team apparel and that may not coincide with their normal work clothes. For example, Murray wears Under Armour but had to don Adidas in Rio. There is no suggestion that Under Armour made representations over this but any reservations would surely be reasonable as their client was the centre of the sporting world’s attentions while wearing a rival brand.

Murray, too, played for nothing. The gold might have added something to his bank balance through enhanced sponsorship but its impact would be relatively insignificant for two reasons. First, as a triple grand slam winner, including two Wimbledons, Murray is already at the top end of his off-court earning potential. Second, he does not capitalise on such opportunities. The 29-year-old is aware that corporate deals offer millions but demand days, in that his benefactors want him for events. He prefers to spend his spare time in Oxshott, Surrey, a long-standing arrangement made the more inviolate by the birth of his daughter.

The most telling aspect of Murray’s Olympian passion is, though, the effect it has on his day job. The Scot is scheduled to play Ivo Karlovic tomorrow in Cincinatti as he builds towards the US Open which starts later this month. It does not take an expert in recovery and sports science to grasp that Murray has hardly improved his chances of winning a fourth major by participating in a daily regime of matches in Rio followed by a brutal mano a mano struggle with the admirable Juan Martin del Potro.

The truth is that Murray made amateur choices. He chose to leave the Zika issue to the experts. He chose not to make an issue of branding or any personal financial considerations. He chose to deal in the daily moment of the Olympics without regard to the long-term issue of whether he would be in prime shape to launch a successful tilt at a grand slam tournament.

He chose to do something out of love, not just for tennis but for sport itself. He is a man immersed in sport, obsessed by it, from basketball to boxing. He chose the Olympics.

He was ultimately rewarded by gold. On the podium, he felt its weight, perhaps sensed its import. It was, though, a mere accessory to something significant.

There was personal, dramatic glory on a court in Rio. But Murray made his point not by winning, but by taking part. hit out at 'sexist dinosaur' John Inverdale over Williams sisters Olympic golds blunder.21234