Rio has passed the Olympic baton to 2020 hosts Tokyo in a colourful closing spectacular that capped off a record-breaking Games for Britain.
Dozens of Team GB’s victorious athletes are set to return as heroes, bringing with them the biggest medal haul for the nation in more than a century.
The historic accomplishment that saw Britain come behind only to the United States has triggered a clamour for the victors to be awarded with knighthoods, damehoods and honours.
After a competition where negative headlines were never far away attention now turns to the Paralympic Games, due to begin next month against a backdrop of controversy.
Yet there are hopes that setbacks over funding will not detract from the heroics guaranteed by the competitors.
Arriving in Brazil to political crisis, economic strife and fears over Zika virus, Team GB smashed the target of 48 medals to make Rio 2016 its best “away” Games.
The glorious team ended up with 67 – two more than London’s remarkable haul four years ago.
The success of athletes including Mo Farah, Nicola Adams, Jason Kenny and Laura Trott spurred the nation on to a winning streak throughout the Games.
Team GB have collected 27 gold, 23 silver and 17 bronze medals, finishing above mighty China in the medals table.
Boxer Joe Joyce missed out on gold in the men’s super heavyweight final on Sunday, taking second place on the podium.
Hockey gold medallist Kate Richardson-Walsh was named as Great Britain’s flag bearer for the closing ceremony.
Richardson-Walsh and wife Helen became the first same-sex married couple to win an Olympic gold in the same final in the historic victory over the Netherlands.
On a spectacular penultimate night, Mo Farah scooped the “double double” of gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres in both London and Rio.
Farah – who celebrated his win with his trademark Mobot – said the accomplishment was “every athlete’s dream” as he dedicated each of the four medals to his children.
The athletes have been widely hailed for their outstanding performance and the Prime Minister pledged to continue supporting British sport.
Theresa May, who said she had been watching the Games when she could, paid tribute to the “determination, dignity and true sportsmanship” of Team GB.
She said: “They haven’t just made history; by showing just how far talent and hard work can take you, they have inspired the next generation. They have also shown the importance of supporting elite sport, and that is something this Government remains wholly committed to.”
Bill Sweeney, chief executive of the British Olympic Association said the success was down to two decades of hard work and investment in British sport.
“It has been a brilliant Games but this is not an overnight success,” he said.
“Thanks to the contribution of the National Lottery players via UK Sport and their investment, this is 20 years in the making and we’ve now enjoyed five successive Games of medal growth. No one has come close to that and it’s an unbelievable achievement.”
Team GB’s chef de mission Mark England described the accomplishment as “quite simply one of the finest British sporting achievements to date”.
He said: “To follow on from London 2012 and the home comforts that came with hosting a Games and out-perform ourselves here is a piece of history that the nation can be hugely proud of.”
The team entered the Maracana for Sunday night’s closing ceremony riding high on their success, the occasion infused with a relaxed party atmosphere that showed on the faces of the delighted stars.
Those members of the successful squad who had remained in Rio beamed as they waved to the crowds – with bronze-winning gymnast Nile Wilson perched on a team-mate’s shoulders for a better view.
As would be expected of the Japanese delegation their acceptance of the Olympic flag was a typically high-tech affair, with mesmerising augmented reality visuals transporting the crowd to 2020.
In a nod to one of the nation’s best-loved exports – games giant Nintendo – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was “helped’ to the games by Super Mario before appearing in the stadium out of a giant green pipe.