Chris Hoy brought the curtain down on Britain's dominant track cycling campaign in style but Australia's Anna Meares denied Victoria Pendleton a golden farewell with a superb win over her old rival.
Hoy's second gold of the Games gave the 36-year-old Scot his sixth Olympic title from a career which began with silver in Sydney, and sees him surpass Steve Redgrave as Britain's most successful Olympian.
It took the virtually unstoppable British track team's gold tally to an impressive seven from 10 finals, equalling their record haul from Beijing four years ago.
Had it not been for Meares, it could well have been eight.
The 29-year-old Australian came into the Games dreaming of beating her nemesis Pendleton, the defending Olympic and six-time world champion, on the biggest stage of them all.
And in a controversial but enthralling sprint final, the Queenslander outfoxed the 31-year-old Englishwoman in the second race after Pendleton had been relegated after winning a close first duel win for an infringement.
Having provided Australia with their only track medal in Beijing, Meares' gold pushed the Aussies up to second in the table.
Meares cried tears of joy on the podium where Pendleton, having competed in her final race, could at last hug the woman who has pushed her to take women's match sprinting to new levels.
"We had a good hug down there afterwards," said Pendleton. "She did a fantastic job, she's a fantastic competitor, a very worthy winner and an amazing rival over the years."
Having beaten Meares regularly over the years, including at the Beijing Olympics, the Australian would be forgiven for being relieved to see the back of the Briton.
She rolled her eyes towards the ceiling and laughed when asked if she would miss Pendleton.
"Ha, ha, ha," laughed Meares. "Track cycling will miss her. She's a champion, arguably one of the best sprinters of all time and definitely one of the best in the modern sprinting era.
"I wanted the chance to race Vicky in the final, because I know that she's the best and I wanted to beat the best."
While Meares said she could "take at least a season away from the sport to give some time back to my family" ahead of a possible charge towards the Games in Rio, Hoy and Pendleton said they won't be in Brazil.
"Yes, it is over, without a doubt. It would be my worst nightmare right now to have to relive the last week of my life, it seriously would," said Pendleton. "I'm so relieved you can't even imagine."
As Pendleton bows out, Britain's latest queen of the track, Laura Trott, looks to be assured a bright future.
The 20-year-old helped Britain to gold in the women's 3km team pursuit in a world record time, and was consistency personified in the six-discipline omnium which she won with a one-point lead over American Sarah Hammer.
She is now in the same company as middle-distance runner Kelly Holmes and swimmer Rebecca Adlington in being one of the few British female athletes to have won two golds at a single Olympic Games.
"I don't think people talk about me in the same sense as them. I just can't believe it," said Trott.
Hoy, meanwhile, went off to consider his future on a rather cheerier note after dominating the keirin field to defend his title from Beijing, having won the team sprint last week.
The 36-year-old Scot passed Redgrave's tally of five gold medals, all of which were won in consecutive Games.
After playing down that feat, he says there is no chance of adding more.
"I'm 99.9 percent sure that I won't be in Rio. This is the perfect end to my Olympic career," said Hoy, who could go on until the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where the velodrome bares his name.
"I feel amazing. Relief that it's over, relief that it's worked out."