Ben Ainslie won gold for Great Britain
Members of the British Team received a heroes’ welcome in London after their best Olympic performance for over a century.
Team GB achieved a phenomenal triumph at the Beijing Olympics beyond everyone’s wildest dreams, finishing fourth in the medal table with a haul of 19 gold, 13 silver and 15 bronze medals.
The athletes were flown home on a private jet decorated with a special ‘gold nose’ in honour of their success.
They were overwhelmed as they stepped off the plane.
Chris Hoy, winner of three gold cycling medals, said: “It’s an incredible reception. You’re living in a bubble in the Olympic village and it’s only when you land and see quite how many people have turned up you realise – it’s incredible.”
Rebecca Adlington, Britain’s first female Olympic swimming champion for 48 years, added: "Both me and Chris came out here to just try our best to get a medal. Anything else that comes our way is an added bonus. I had my own expectations but it wasn't two gold medals, at all, and a world record."
As the Olympic flag was handed over to London Mayor Boris Johnson, thousands of people gathered outside Buckingham Palace for a party. They were entertained by pop musicians including McFly, The Feeling and Will Young.
The Royal Air Force took the crowd to a high with their trademark aerobatic flypast of white, red and blue smoke.
All eyes are now on London as the 2012 Olympics host city. It would be difficult not to compare Beijing and London, but Mayor Johnson is confident that the capital will deliver.
“We’ll draw on our wit, flair, imagination and ingenuity to build on what we’ve all witnessed in Beijing and deliver a fantabulous Olympics in what I consider to be not only my home, but the home of sport,” he said.
With just four more years to go, the race is now on for London to realise its promises to Olympic fans around the world.