There was to be no golden goodbye to these most storied of Olympic Games, when mining medals seemed, at times, almost ridiculously easy.
Super heavyweight Joe Joyce is nicknamed the Steam Train but he settled for boxing silver as the gold rush finally ran out of puff on the final day of competitions in Rio.
Joyce was looking to emulate his former team-mate Anthony Joshua, the London 2012 champion who was watching at ringside.
But he was beaten on a split decision by French rival Tony Yoka, who took an early lead in the scoring and left Joyce chasing the fight.
Elsewhere, Callum Hawkins recorded a top ten finish in the men’s marathon, coming home ninth in 2:11:52, the best British performance in the event since Jon Brown’s fourth in Athens 12 years ago.
And Grant Ferguson, the last British athlete to arrive in Brazil, ranked 17th in the men’s mountain biking.
In winning 67 medals, Team GB has won more podium places than ever before at a Games on foreign soil and becomes the first nation to win more medals in the Games immediately after hosting, with 65 won four years ago at London 2012.
By finishing second on the medal table with 27 gold, 23 silver and 17 bronze, Team GB has recorded its best finish in 108 years after topping the list at London 1908. And it’s also improved its medal performance for five straight Olympics, an unprecedented statistic.
“For a country the size of Britain to finish second to the USA in the medals table – our highest ever position – and above China was, he added, ‘nothing short of extraordinary. We are now a powerhouse of world sport,” said chef de mission Mark England.
“I have no doubt this is our greatest ever Games. The collective team effort has been outstanding – we have had so many firsts, so many greatest ever performances.
“It is better than it has ever been before and it is more successful than it has ever been before. It has been a more challenging environment than it has ever been before.
“It is unprecedented and extraordinary. We have been excited to watch athletes compete and we have been thrilled with the outcome.”
Kate Richardson-Walsh, the captain of the gold medal winning women’s hockey team, was selected to be Team GB’s closing ceremony flag bearer for a spectacular and emotionally charged farewell at the Maracana.
The 36-year-old first made her Olympic debut at Sydney 2000 before going on to compete at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, helping the team win bronze four years ago.
“I’m very aware of the magnitude of this honour having been part of this magnificent team who have just excelled in so many ways and in so many sports,” she said.
“There are so many fantastic multi-Olympians and multi-medallists here I feel it’s such a huge honour for me and for hockey as a sport.
“I’ve had such a fantastic Games. If you could write a movie script with a fairy tale ending then this would be it. However much you talk about working hard and believing that your dreams will come true, when it actually happens you still have to pinch yourself. It’s just been an amazing few weeks here.”
Image courtesy of BBC via YouTube, with thanks.