GB duo remain inconsolable
Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter were still inconsolable hours after Denmark beat them into silver medal position and took their Olympic title.
Purchase brightened up a little at the thought of his London wedding in three weeks time, until he considered his honeymoon in January.
"I won't be going as a gold medal winner," he said.
When it was pointed out that he will, at least, have a ring on his finger, Purchase replied: "That is silver too."
It was a moment of dark humour on a dark day for the British lightweight double scull, whose physical and emotional distress at the finish pulled at the heart-strings of the nation.
"We gave everything, we tried everything, we wanted to win so badly," Hunter said.
"We are sorry to everybody we have let down. We raced our heart out and it wasn't enough today. Losing your Olympic title hurts tremendously."
Battling the tears, Purchase added: "We have really enjoyed being part of this amazing team. We just wish we could have been quicker for everybody else."
If there were emotions at the finish, there was drama at the start when Purchase's seat jammed and the British crew were forced to stop.
It was a blow because Purchase and Hunter had made a storming start. After Purchase had screwed a wheel back into place, they did so again.
For over 1500 metres it appeared as if the British crew would retain their Olympic title, until Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist engineered a desperate late surge that took them to victory.
Hunter had to be supported by Sir Steve Redgrave after he left the boat and he initially struggled to stand without Purchase's support.
"The mental and physical side of racing is always the same but the emotional side is always different, especially at the Olympic Games," Hunter said.
"If you win it is jubilation, you feel fantastic. If you have put everything on the line and you lose, there is no hiding place. You just shut down."
France, who finished fourth, then submitted a two-pronged official complaint over Britain's silver medal which was then upgraded to a full protest.
In a written submission, the French questioned whether Britain had stopped within the first 100 metres - after which the race cannot be restarted - and whether they had damaged their boat.
FISA, rowing's world governing body, rejected the appeal and confirmed Purchase and Hunter in silver, Britain's ninth medal of its most successful Olympic regatta ever.
"You can stop the race in the first 100 metres. The race was stopped and the umpire confirmed the wheel came off the seat structure," FISA secretary general Matt Smith.
"At the end of the race, the French crew objected. They questioned whether the incident happened in the first 100 metres and whether it was damage.
"The umpire rejected the objection and the French federation launched a protest. An independent board of jury determined it did happen in the first 100 metres and that there was breakage."
Purchase was proud of his role in Britain's overall success at Eton Dorney but he does not ever shake the disappointment of losing his Olympic crown.
"This race will echo with me forever," said Purchase, who is expected to take a year out of rowing to decide on his future.
"We had an awesome regatta as a team and to be part of that is amazing.
"I am just really disappointed for the people who have really supported us that we couldn't show them what we have done previously."
Objectively, silver still rates as a magnificent achievement for a crew who had struggled so badly all year and only six weeks ago trailed in last in the Munich World Cup regatta.
But Purchase and Hunter have a reputation for overcoming adversity and peaking at the big events. They did it at the world championships in both 2010 and 2011 and expected to do it again today.
"We have the best programme in the world, especially in the last six weeks when we went away on training camps," Hunter said.
"We came here to win, it's as simple as that. Everybody will say 'it is great you won a silver', but we came for gold and that is it."