As she won the women's kayak single 500-meter semifinal against women nearly half her age, 47-year-old Josefa Idem from Italy entered Olympic history, becoming the first woman to compete in eight Olympic Games.
Idem, who won an Olympic bronze medal in Los Angeles in 1984 when she was only 19, began her three-decade career in her native West Germany, but became a naturalized Italian citizen in 1992.
Four years later she claimed bronze in Atlanta, then gold in Sydney in 2000 and silver at both Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008).
In London, the Italian kayaker finished her final race of career in fifth place, just three tenths of a second from a bronze medal and under two seconds from gold.
"It's never too late to dream. Never too late to get going. This is the message I wish to leave," Idem said.