Liam Heath and Jon Schofield went one better than their London 2012 exploits by winning silver in the men’s K2 200m canoe sprint at the Lagoa Stadium.
In the shadow of Christ the Redeemer, the British pair got their noses in front of third place Lithuania and stayed there until the end, facing a nervy wait until their final position was shown on the big screen.
Spanish duo Saul Craviotto and Cristian Toro surged to victory, but Heath and Schofield beat several former world champion pairs to claim second spot on the podium.
“In that field no-one expects anything too much. We all went into that race knowing it’s a clean slate," Schofield said.
“The Croatians have been world champions, the Serbians have been world champions. Everyone in there thought they could win a medal, but we just concentrated on our own race."
Heath, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Wednesday, will have to watch on as his paddling partner tucks into his birthday cake, with the K1 event still in store for him.
"We saw the Spanish slightly ahead and our race was on the other side of the course, so we gave it everything we’ve got," he said.
"It was such a fast race and the splits were absolutely nothing. We crossed the line and everyone else crossed the line, so we were looking around to see where we came.
“You kind of forget to breathe sometimes [when waiting for the results], you just sit there waiting for what feels like forever."
The pair won bronze in London four years ago, and while most of the teams in the field have upped their games since, Heath and Schofield say they've worked hard to improve as well.
“The end of the race is where you make up seconds. Everyone can hit the same top speeds, it’s about who can stay there the longest at the end," Schofield said.
Heath added: “It’s taken focus in the gym, we’ve got our diet under control a little bit as well and keeping in touch with the rest of the world."
The only other Brit to compete on Thursday at the Lagoa was Rachel Cawthorn in the K1 500m B final, where she finished seventh.