Australian rowing supermum Sarah Tait and crew-mate Kate Hornsey claimed silver as Great Britain celebrated their first gold medal of the London Olympics on Wednesday.
With Princess Anne among an expectant 25,000-strong crowd at Eton Dorney, Tait and Hornsey were forced to play second fiddle to the dominant British duo Helen Glover and Heather Stanning broke the home team's gold drought on the fifth day of the Games.
Tim Sheridan: Aussies ecstatic with silver
Favourites Glover and Stanning, Team GB spares only three years ago, also ended another much longer drought for the hosts who had never won Olympic gold in women's rowing.
They set a new Olympic best time in the heats and took control of the final in the first 250m where they built up a length lead.
World champions New Zealand trailed in second for all but the last 100m as Tait and Hornsey, fourth behind USA with 400m to go, stormed home.
But they still finished two lengths behind Glover and Stanning to the joy of the home crowd.
The silver medal was still a particularly sweet success for Tait, 29, who chose to undergo wrist surgery just four weeks ago to ensure her fitness for her third Games appearance.
The Australian women's team captain is the only survivor of the infamous women's eight crew which bombed in Athens when Sally Robbins lay down before the finish line.
The Victorian's 2008 experience in Beijing was just as painful as her highly-touted eight cracked under the pressure and also finished last in the final.
Tait, who is coached by her husband Bill, took time off the sport in 2009 to give birth to daughter Leila and became Australia's first Olympic rowing mum when she lined up in this week's heats at Lake Dorney.
"After Beijing I still wasn't sure whether I would continue rowing, I had a baby and that sort of put a spanner in the works in terms of not knowing whether," she told AAP in March.
"It's a big challenge and there's a lot of little things on the way that people don't think about but we have to juggle."
Tasmanian Hornsey only joined Tait in the pair last year when she was a last-minute replacement after Geelong rower Phoebe Stanley suffered cardiac arrhythmia before the world titles in Slovenia.
Tait and Hornsey were full of smiles at the finish line, especially after being concerned by their medal prospects with 500m to row.
"We knew we had a good run to the line and we knew we could make a couple of positions in the race," Tait said.
"Coming into the 1500 in fourth we really worked hard to get bronze. In the last couple of strokes, it must have been, we popped out in silver which is just unbelievable for us.
"It's so exciting."