Aussie salior Tom Slingsby won Olympic gold on the breezy waters
off Weymouth as the winds of hope began to blow through the
Australian camp in London.
The five-time world champion's victory in the Laser class ended a nine-day gold medal drought for Australia since the women's 4x100m freestyle relay team won on the first night of Olympic competition
It's Australia's second gold medal at the London Games and the first to be won by an individual Australian athlete.
Slingsby's medal lifted Australia from 21st to 16th on the medal
tally and close to catching New Zealand who remain two spots higher
at 14 with three gold medals.
The sight of the Kiwi contingent - less than half the size of Australia's 400-strong team - ahead on the medal table had earlier provoked an official Australian response.
"We don't want to suffer jokes for the next three years and 50 weeks until (the 2016 Olympics in) Rio," said Australian deputy chef de mission Kitty Chiller.
"So hopefully we can overcome them. They've had a fantastic start."
New Zealand's Andrew Murdoch was fifth overall heading into the race and finished today's race in fourth to consolidate his overall position.
Kontides took the silver and Sweden's Rasmus Mygren took
While Slingsby's gold medal will lift the spirits of an Australian team being criticised as underperforming at these London Games, it also marks the end of a four-year personal battle for redemption.
Slingsby went to the 2008 Beijing Olympics as the red-hot favourite and was devastated when he finished 22nd.
"Words just can't describe how I feel right now," said Slingsby after crossing the finish line off Weymouth on Monday.
"It's been a long road and I've been through the highs and lows of the sport but nothing beats this.
"Every Olympics is a dream - it's the pinnacle of sport.
"Right now I'm the happiest guy on the planet I can guarantee it."
His efforts would have added to relief for the Australian Olympic team management in London as the team's fortunes began to turn.
At the athletics track gold medal favourite Sally Pearson scorched over the hurdles, clocking the fastest-ever Olympic first-round time, almost half a second quicker than anyone else in her heat.
Minutes later Boomers star Patty Mills nailed a buzzer-beating three-pointer to give Australia a stunning 82-80 upset win over Russia in the men's basketball tournament.
Bidding for a third career gold medal, Michael Diamond produced another perfect round of shooting, hitting all 25 targets to stay on top of the men's trap leader board with a faultless 100 points.
Also at Weymouth in southern England, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen had the chance to secure gold in the 49er skiffs, as did 470 class sailors Malcolm Page and Mat Belcher.
All of this came after a night when Australia's women's water polo team showed what their coach called "more heart than Phar Lap" to sink China in a penalty shoot-out and make the Olympic semi-finals.
For good measure Steve Solomon became Australia's first 400m track finalist since Darren Clark at Seoul in 1988.