There were passionate kisses and hugs as Britain's Olympic heroes arrived back to a rapturous reception from their loved-ones – and a grateful nation. Many had no idea of the impression their triumph has made back home and were overwhelmed to be greeted by crowds of excited relatives on the tarmac at Heathrow.
One of the first off the specially chartered Boeing 747, which sported a gold nose cone and was named Pride, was triple gold cycling superstar Chris Hoy.
"Everyone seems so happy to see us," marvelled Chris as he posed next to fellow gold medal-winning cyclist Jamie Staff, who was welcomed by his wife and three-year-old twins. "We're beginning to understand now that the whole nation has been following us."
Even if the entire country was backing their efforts, there was only one person his teammate Rebecca Adlington was really looking forward to seeing – her boyfriend.
The winner of the 400m and 800m freestyle swimming competition sprinted past photographers for a tearful reunion with Andy Mayor, who told her: "I love you".
Also among the victorious squad which delivered Britain's best Olympic haul for 100 years, was Paul Goodison, a medallist in the sailing, who celebrated with a smacker from his girl Saskia Clark.