Joseph Clarke secured Great Britain’s second Olympic gold medal of Rio 2016 after winning the men’s K1 canoe slalom competition at the Whitewater Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
The 23-year-old was considered an outside medal chance heading into the event but gave warning of what was to come after finishing third in the semi-final with an impressive display of power and control.
It was in the final, though, where Clarke really thrived and a faultless run and time of 1min 28.53sec propelled him into the gold medal position.
A medal was guaranteed with just two more athletes to go but neither Slovenia's Peter Kauzer nor Czech Republic’s Jiří Prskavec could get ahead of the Briton.
Kauzer had to settle for silver, 0.17 seconds back and Prskavec was 0.46 off the pace in third.
Clarke’s gold is the first ever by a British athlete in the men’s K1 canoe slalom, as well as the first medal in the event since Campbell Walsh took silver at Athens 2004.
"I went out on that final run, laid it all on the line, put my all out there and that was enough to come away with the Olympic gold medal," said Clarke.
"It is absolutely fantastic and a dream come true.
"So much hard work has gone into this and the support from the National Lottery and UK Sport has been unbelievable.
"That has made it possible to come out here on so many training camps and really maximise our advantage and that is what I did today."
Clarke was inspired as a child by Britain’s five-time Olympic gold medal-winning rower Sir Steve Redgrave and began paddling aged 11.
He has a photograph on a wall at home that Redgrave sent him, signed with the words: "Leave no stone unturned".
"When I crossed the line and knew I had a bronze I was absolutely ecstatic," added Clarke.
"It got even better when that upgraded to a silver and then upgraded to a gold.
"'Joe Clarke, Olympic champion. Joe Clarke, Olympic champion'.
"It was what I went to bed dreaming about last night and what I’ve dreamed of for so many years."
Kauzer follows in the footsteps of compatriot Andraz Vehovar, an Olympic silver medallist at Atlanta 1996.
They are the only Slovenian medal winners in this sport.
"I failed at two Olympics already so I said, 'Let's see if third time is a charm' so I guess it was for me today," said Kauzer.
"It was hard for me to come back because two years ago I had a really nasty injury.
"I dislocated my shoulder on the London  Olympic course and the rehab to come back was really tough for me so I appreciate this medal even more."
Rio 2016 canoe slalom action is due to conclude tomorrow with men’s C2 and women’s K1 finals scheduled to take place.