Samantha Murray defied the weight of history on her shoulders to continue Britain's brilliant record in modern pentathlon by winning silver at Greenwich Park.
British athletes had won four medals at three Olympics since the women's competition was introduced to the programme in 2000, most recently Heather Fell's silver in Beijing four years ago.
Fell did not make the team this time round and the mantle passed to Murray and world champion Mhairi Spence, and it was the 22-year-old from Clitheroe in Lancashire who stepped up to the plate.
Murray went into the final event, the combined run and shoot, in fourth place and was still outside the medals after the first round of shooting. But she left the range for the second time in third place and then overhauled Yane Marques of Brazil at the start of the final one kilometre lap before being roared home.
The final gold of the Olympics went to Lithuania's Laura Asadauskaite, who finished some way ahead of Murray, while Marques hung on to take bronze.
Murray, who took the hosts' medal tally to a remarkable 65, admitted Britain's success in the sport had been on her mind, and she said: "That was the biggest thing. When you think since Sydney we've always won a medal, it's like, right, no pressure then, you've got to go and win a medal. It's really tough.
"Pentathlon isn't a straight line that you have to run down, there's uncontrollables and you've got to deal with the unexpected. You've got to have a tough brain and a tough mind."
The Lancastrian hailed the contribution of the huge crowd, saying: "I'm so proud that I gave the crowd something because they were fantastic all day and it was a complete privilege to compete in front of that many people.
"The stadium erupted when I came in every time and my legs just picked up. I kind of wish now there was more to run because I was enjoying myself so much.
"It was an amazing race. It is a shame I didn't get gold, I shot myself in the foot because fencing is my weakest discipline and I started the day really badly, but I had to pull through and grit my teeth."