What has happened to those medallists, and the rest of the British team, since stepping off the plane home?
As they parade through London on Thursday, has the Beijing bubble burst, or are plans already in place for glory at London 2012?
BBC Sport has tracked down each of Britain's 47 medallists - 19 gold, 13 silver and 15 bronze - to find out what they are doing now, and what the future holds in store.
You can click any athlete on the image above to skip to their entry.
Age 32, born Edinburgh
GOLD: Cycling - track (x3)
Then: Following team sprint success with Jamie Staff and Jason Kelly, the 'Real McHoy' collected his second gold of the Games in the men's keirin. He then beat team-mate Kenny in the individual sprint for gold number three.
Now: As one of the most high-profile Olympic successes for Britain, Hoy has scarcely had a moment out of the limelight. Among other appearances he has pedalled through London, unveiled designs for 2012's cycling venue, attended an Olympic reception in Edinburgh, and campaigned to keep the Scottish city's velodrome open.
Next: Hoy is committed to reaching London 2012, via the Commonwealth Games. But he will not decide his short-term plans for some time yet. "I've got a holiday booked in November, and I won't start discussing the future until then," he wrote in his Olympic blog for BBC Sport.
Age 19, born Mansfield
GOLD: Swimming (x2)
Then: Adlington became Britain's most successful swimmer in a century with victories in the women's 400m and 800m freestyle events.
Now: The Mansfield medallist has been awarded the freedom of her home town, and Adlington enjoyed a parade on an open top bus on her return. Local swimming convert Irene Evason, 69, said: "Rebecca is going to spur me on to keep it up."
Adlington was also spotted alongside the likes of Cilla Black, Cheryl Cole and Naomi Campbell, strutting her stuff in a charity catwalk show in London, and has been installed as one of the favourites for BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Next: "I'd absolutely love to do Strictly Come Dancing," she told the Independent in August. "Do you think I could get on Top Gear as well? I'd love that. I think Jeremy Clarkson is really funny. I've read his books and everything."
In the pool, Adlington's focus now switches to the 2009 World Championships in Rome, and 2010's Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Age 28, born Ghent, Belgium
GOLD: Cycling - track (x2)
Then: Wiggins produced a peerless ride to thrash New Zealand's Hayden Roulston by three seconds in the individual pursuit final, and won team pursuit gold with Ed Clancy, Paul Manning and Geraint Thomas.
Now: Following Beijing, Wiggins has kept himself busy, appearing in the Tour of Britain. "I don't want to get fat again, like I did after Athens," he told the Telegraph.
Next: Wiggins has signed up to the Garmin cycling team for 2009, with a renewed focus on road racing. "He's going to concentrate 100 per cent on the road, which he really hasn't done up to this point," said Wiggins' new boss, Jonathan Vaughters.
Age 31, born Chertsey
GOLD & BRONZE: Kayaking
Then: Brabants, already world and European champion, started quickest in his K1 1000m final and led throughout to clinch gold. "In the first two strokes there was no doubt I was going to win the race. No-one was going to come past me, I felt fantastic," he said. He followed the win with bronze in the shorter 500m event.
Now: Brabants has appeared in competition since Beijing, and has also tried his hand at triathlon and rowing, but he is devoting much of his energy to finding work as a doctor. His medical career was put on hold for two years as he trained for the Games.
Next: It had been understood that a return to medicine would rule Brabants out of kayaking for a couple of years at least, pending a return ahead of London 2012. But in September he told BBC Sport the temptation to compete at the next World Championships could prove hard to resist. "If I can find a job where I can train to a reasonable level, maybe I'll be there," he said.
Then: The favourites clocked a new world record to beat Denmark in the men's team pursuit final. "That time won't be broken in a long time, we're the best team in the world," said Geraint Thomas.
Geraint Thomas's video diary
Now: Thirty-three-year-old Manning, who has dedicated himself to cycling since the age of 13, finds himself out of work post-Beijing. "My funding will trickle on to give me a chance to get a normal job," he told the Mirror, "but there is a big financial hit coming." Thomas and Clancy are seeing out the road cycling season, with Thomas finding himself an agent and Clancy riding the Salford Nocturne Elite.
Next: Manning has a job lined up for 2009, when he starts work with the company which won the contract to build the London 2012 velodrome. Thomas says he will focus on road cycling next year, after a "traditional winter and a decent break", and Clancy is preparing for track cycling's World Cup in November.
TOM JAMES, STEVE WILLIAMS, PETE REED, ANDY HODGE
Then: The men's coxless four produced a spectacular late surge to overtake Australia and claim gold.
Now: "Now is the time to put the feet up, recharge the batteries and enjoy the moment," said Williams in the aftermath of Beijing. James has been voted "sexiest Welshman", while Williams and Reed tried to match him by turning up at the Man of the Year awards.
Next: The 2009 international rowing season is still six months away, but coach Jurgen Grobler will expect to hear if each member of the four is committed to continuing by the end of October.
Hodge will spend next season as captain of Molesey Boat Club in Surrey, and is hoping to spend time working with the Sporting Giants and World Class Start programmes, which bring on new talent.
SARAH AYTON, SARAH WEBB, PIPPA WILSON
Then: The 'three blondes in a boat' won their final Yngling class race in atrocious conditions to beat the Dutch by nine points. "We've been happy to come out here in any conditions and today we proved that," said Wilson.
Now: The photogenic trio have been lapping up interviews for breakfast television and glossy magazines, and enjoying time off to "rest and recuperate".
Next: Webb is launching a website to help athletes find funding ahead of 2012 - but sailing plans for London are on hold, with the Yngling class almost certain to be dropped for the Games. "We are in a bit of limbo," Ayton told the Telegraph. "Until we know what class of boats there are we can't decide what we are going to do. But I'm sure that the girls will be up to continue to 2012."
Then: The hot favourites held off Greece to win Great Britain's first lightweight rowing gold, in the men's double sculls event.
Now: Purchase, 22, has been taking things easy since Beijing - including an appearance in local paper the Reading Evening Post, holding girlfriend Felicity's pet rabbit, Sausage. Hunter, meanwhile, feels "calm and complete", he told the Independent.
Next: Hunter is heading to coach at the UCLA, in California, for a year, but is likely to ditch thoughts of retirement in favour of trying to reach London (he'll be 34 by 2012). That leaves Purchase needing to either find a new men's double sculls partner for 2009, or swap to the lightweight single - not an Olympic event.
Age 31, born Macclesfield
Then: Ainslie made it three gold medals in three Games to become Britain's most successful Olympic sailor, outwitting US rival Zach Railey in the Finn class.
Now: Ainslie had barely stepped off the plane from Beijing before he was back in action in Sardinia, in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. "After my first Games in Atlanta in 1996, I came home and had nothing to do," he told the Times. "Ever since, I have tried to arrange something for when I come home." He has also done some work for the Prince's Trust, which involved meeting the Cheeky Girls.
Next: The fate of the America's Cup largely controls Ainslie's 2012 destiny. If it goes ahead, Ainslie says he will stick with his Finn class boat for the London Games. When not on the water, he will be trying to gain his pilot's licence.
Age 25, born Swansea
GOLD: Cycling - road
Then: Cooke won Britain's first gold of the Games in a thrilling sprint finish to her 126km road race. "I was just so happy and there were so many emotions coming out all at once," she said. She missed a photocall of medal winners at Heathrow having been stopped by security.
Now: She has been welcomed back to her home village of Wick, in the Vale of Glamorgan. "Everybody remembers Nicole and her brother riding their bikes to school every day," said local barmaid Hannah Thomas. Appearances in glossy magazines have also followed her Olympic success but, more importantly, Cooke returned to the saddle with victory at the Road World Championships in Italy.
Next: Cooke has written a book, "Cycle for Life", published on 16 October. She is taking a break from cycling following the Worlds, but resumes training in November.
Age 22, born Hammersmith
Then: James "Chunky" DeGale fought Cuba's Emilio Correa in the final of the middleweight division, holding on to win 16-14.
Now: The 22-year-old is tempted by the prospect of defending his title on home soil in four years, but he is deliberating whether to turn professional and will decide by the end of October.
Next: If he does turn pro, he has vowed not to make the same mistakes as Team GB's last boxing gold medallist, Audley Harrison. He told the Sun after the Olympics: "Audley tried to do everything himself - promoting, training, fighting, the whole lot - and it was probably too much for him."
Age 30, born Sheffield
Then: Goodison, who missed out on bronze in 2004, led going into the Laser class medal race and held on to first place, finishing ahead of Swedish rival Rasmus Myrgren.
Now: The 30-year-old launched himself into a regatta in Weymouth on his return from Beijing, but is taking things easy. "I'm looking for some time off because it has been a long hard road to the Olympics," he told South Yorkshire newspaper the Star. A local brewery has produced Goodison's Gold, described as a "full-bodied and fruity ale, suitably gold in colour".
Next: Goodison may opt to change boat class ahead of London 2012. "If I could get enough money, then I'd love to sail in the Star class," he said. "It might be tough to find a big sponsor. I may have to flash the medal, but it's definitely something I'm thinking about."
Age 24, born London
Then: Ohuruogu overhauled her fading rivals in dramatic fashion as she added the Olympic 400m title to her 2007 world crown, having been banned for a year for missing three out-of-competition drug tests. "I don't care what people think or say, I have come here and got what I wanted and I'm happy," she said.
Now: Ohuruogu has been keeping busy on the track since Beijing. She won the 400m at the British Grand Prix at the end of August, but Sanya Richards pipped her at the World Athletics Final in Stuttgart.
Next: "I don't know, no-one knows what will happen in the future," Ohuruogu told local newspaper the Newham Recorder. "I want to make sure I get there (London 2012) in one piece and in the best shape I can be in and we will see what happens."
Age 27, born Hitchin
GOLD: Cycling - track
Then: Pendleton blitzed her rivals to take gold in her only event, the women's sprint. "I've wanted this so badly," she said. "I'd beaten everyone in the field so there was a lot pressure on me to win a medal."
Now: British cycling's 'golden girl' has been in such demand, she had to forgo an appearance with Jonathan Ross on BBC One in order to make the Sony Music Awards on time.
Next: Full-time training in Manchester has resumed for Pendleton, who has also made several competitive appearances - including national title wins - since Beijing. She hopes for a bigger medal haul in 2012, if organisers add more women's cycling events to the programme.
Age 28, born Carshalton
GOLD: Cycling - track
Then: After winning a silver medal in rowing in 2004, Romero switched to cycling in some style, claiming women's individual pursuit gold ahead of team-mate Wendy Houvenaghel. "It's been so hard. I can't explain what I've had to go through," she said.
Now: "I suppose I need a bit of a life now, I haven't got a boyfriend or anything," said the driven Romero - renowned for her ruthless pursuit of Beijing gold - in September.
Next: Romero joked about picking up a third sport in the wake of her gold medal, but it transpires she may be semi-serious. She has said becoming the first British woman to win gold in three different Olympic sports would make her "unbeatable", and has earmarked either skiing or windsurfing. "Anything except ball sports, I am not very good at those."
Then: Four years after a punctured lung forced him out of the four, Alex Partridge lined up with his team-mates and pushed the Canadians all the way in a stunning race, taking silver.
Now: Matt Langridge admits the freedom since their race has been a novelty. "We've had weeks of being told what to do, when to eat, when to go to bed. Now we can do what we want," he told BBC Sport.
Next: Men's head coach Jurgen Grobler will get together with the squad in October to decide who will push on to London 2012, six months before the first international event of the 2009 season. Partridge has already decided he will try again to gain Olympic gold.
Then: Bidding for GB's first women's rowing gold, the crew didn't have enough to see off the Chinese. It was an agonising third successive silver for Grainger. "I believe if we did it again we could do it. I want to go back to the start and try again," she said.
Now: Grainger and Houghton have been taking a break, while Vernon has been touring schools and clubs around her Cornish home town of Wadebridge, and Flood has been back in a boat, finishing fourth in the double sculls at the European Championships.
Next: Flood plans to spend a year working full-time for the prison service before going part-time in 2010. Grainger will be 36 by the time London 2012 comes around, but she refuses to rule out a shot at gold.
Age 23, born Barry, Wales
SILVER: Swimming - men's 10km marathon
Then: Davies led for most of the race but drifted offline in the final stages. He was pipped to gold by Dutchman Maarten van der Weijden, who finished just 1.5 seconds ahead of Davies. "I gave it everything, that was what I wanted to do, and I have something to show for it," he said.
Now: Having caused a minor stir in China by emptying a bottle of water onto an over-officious organiser in the immediate aftermath of his race, Davies is back and competing in Britain. He claimed victory in the inaugural Great North Swim, held at Lake Windermere, beating Van der Weijden into second.
Next: Within hours of completing his marathon swim, Davies was offered a part in a Christmas special of the comedy series Gavin and Stacey. "I'd love a walk on part. I've got the Barry accent down to a tee and I'm a local lad," he said. In the water, Davies is expected to focus on the 10km swim for 2012, devoting more training to the endurance test than to his 1500m pool event.
Age 25, born Plymouth
SILVER: Modern pentathlon
Then: Strong performances in the shooting and fencing, a season's best in the 200m swim, a solid show jumping round and a determined 3,000m run gave Fell silver behind Lena Schoneborn.
Now: Fell finished second at the modern pentathlon World Cup final in Portugal in early October, to maintain her momentum. Outside the sport, she told the Plymouth Herald: "My mission at the moment is finding sponsors."
Next: Fell will indulge in "some proper time off" with the World Cup out of the way, as pentathlon heads into its off-season. The action restarts in early 2009, and Fell will still be in her 20s for London 2012.
Age 26, born Aberdeen
SILVER: Canoeing - men's slalom
Then: David Florence won GB's first silver in Beijing with a storming final run in the men's slalom canoe - only Slovakia's world number one Michal Martikan bettered his time.
Now: With his ambitions of becoming an astronaut ended before the Beijing Games, Florence is back in the boat and preparing for London 2012.
Next: "It's an on-the-day sport, you see real favourites going out. I don't train to aim for results too much, I train to improve myself, although I'd love to get the gold in 2012," he told Nottingham's Evening Post.
Age 29, born London
SILVER: Athletics - triple jump
Then: It seemed Idowu's jump of 17.62m would be enough for gold, but world champion Nelson Evora's leap of 17.67m left the Londoner with silver. "I can't believe I'm standing here disappointed with silver, but I am," said a dejected Idowu.
Now: Idowu was criticised by Evora in aftermath of the Games. "He lacked respect for other competitors, lost and still considered himself to be the best, not accepting the defeat," said the Portuguese gold medallist.
Next: Idowu is determined to finally win gold at 2012. "Next year I want to be so far ahead of everyone else in the world that even if I underperform by 50cm, they're 20cm behind," he said following his Olympic defeat.
Age 25, born Kingston, Jamaica
SILVER: Athletics - men's high jump
Then: The 25-year-old shocked everybody with a phenomenal showing, clearing 2.34m to finish behind Russian Andrey Silnov for a glorious silver. "I've been working for this for four years of my life and it feels like heaven," he said.
Now: Mason, who transferred his allegiance from Jamaica to Great Britain before Beijing, has reaffirmed his desire to compete for Britain. "My home is Great Britain now and I'm totally committed to this team," he told the Birmingham Mail.
Next: The 2009 World Championships in Berlin will be Mason's next milestone en route to 2012.
Age 20, born Johannesburg, South Africa
SILVER: Swimming - women's 10km marathon
Then: Payne and team-mate Cassie Patten swam superbly, but the British pair were undone after a battling late charge from Russian Larisa Ilchenko in the final 100m.
Now: Payne took part in September's Great North Swim alongside several members of her family. She finished second, her sister placed 106th, her brother came 310th, and her dad made it home in 1,632nd place. "Not bad for a 54-year-old," wrote Payne on her weblog.
Next: Payne, who picked up A levels around her Olympic training, has previously said she intends to take a break from swimming, with a media degree at university a possibility.
Age 37, born Rustington
BRONZE: Equestrian (x2)
Then: Cook and her horse, Miners Frolic, put in a clear round in the women's individual eventing, which saw her briefly occupy top spot. Six riders followed her around the jumps, but four of them dislodged fences, elevating her to third. The individual medal added to Cook's bronze in the team event.
Now: Miners Frolic, at least, is enjoying some time off. "He's in the field, having a holiday," Cook told the Telegraph in late September.
Next: Cook will be back in eventing competition in Cardiff at the end of November.
MATTHEW WELLS/STEPHEN ROWBOTHAM
BRONZE: Rowing - men's double sculls
Then: The British pair missed out on silver by 0.05 seconds, as they were passed by Estonia in the last few metres. "It was very disappointing not to get the gold, extremely disappointing not to get the silver but you never pass up an Olympic medal," said Rowbotham.
Now: Wells, from Hexham, has been making appearances in the north-east following the Games.
Next: Beijing was Wells' third appearance at the Games and Rowbotham's Olympic debut, so there is a chance the pair will reunite for London.
Then: Laverick fought back to fitness, having being the victim of a hit-and-run accident in 2005, to take bronze with Bebington behind the New Zealand and German boats.
Now: The pair have, like many Olympians, done the rounds of schools and events following Beijing, with rowing taking a back seat.
Next: Bebington has been cautious about her plans after Beijing, but the pair are backed to challenge for gold in London. "If she wants it enough, it's there for the taking," said Athens gold medallist Ed Coode of Bebington.
Age 31, London
BRONZE: Athletics - women's 400m hurdles
Then: Danvers stormed to a stunning bronze, clocking a PB of 53.84s behind Jamaica's Melaine Walker and American Sheena Johnson. "It's been probably the worst - and now the best - year of my whole life," she said.
Now: When not competing, Danvers has turned to public speaking, art and songwriting. She recently helped to launch a programme of Young Ambassadors to promote sport in London.
Next: Danvers, 31 says she wants to emulate Kelly Holmes and compete in 2012. "I will be the same age as Kelly was when she got two gold medals in Athens so I can feed off that," she said. "She threw the whole age thing out of the window so I'm going to use her as my inspiration towards performing well in 2012."
Then: Jeffries dispatched Hungary's Imre Szello 10-2 to reach the light-heavyweight semi-final, where he was outclassed by Ireland's Kenny Egan. "Kenny was the better fighter on the night and he beat me fair and square," said Jeffries.
Now: The boxer caused a minor stir by snubbing a reception Sunderland council had planned for him, on the grounds that they refused to financially support Jeffries in the lead-up to Beijing. "Sunderland Council has done nothing whatsoever to help my son," dad Phil told the Sunday Sun.
Next: Jeffries is likely to eschew the chance to turn pro in favour of another Olympic bid in 2012. "A lot of boxers say they want to go pro and win titles, but for me, especially since I saw Audley Harrison and Amir Khan do it, it's all been about wanting to go to the Olympics," he told the Times.
Age 34, born Middlesbrough
BRONZE: Cycling - track
Then: Newton lost his battle for points race silver with Germany's Roger Kluge, but picked up bronze with 56 points. "I didn't think I was ready for it, but as soon as I pulled on a skinsuit something kicked in," he said.
Now: Newton has already put in a number of competitive appearances since Beijing, racing to the National Scratch title and two golds at the National Points Race Championships.
Next: Newton is not sure he will hang on for London 2012. "I'll be 38 years old when London comes around," he told the Manchester Evening News. "I come from a background in sports science so there are other opportunities for me. I could take that path towards London but I'm not ruling anything out."
Age 21, born Plymouth
BRONZE: Swimming - women's 10km marathon
Then: Patten and team-mate Keri-Anne Payne struggled against Larisa Ilchenko, who edged past in the final few metres, Payne taking silver and Patten bronze.
Now: She is back in training after the post-Olympic whirlwind.
Next: Patten's hopes of competing at 2012 rest on finding the funding. "It's difficult in swimming because there is next to no prize-money," she told the Times. "I heard some track athletes talking about competing at the London Grand Prix and how they would get $11,000 [£6,000] for a win. We're lucky if we get £50."
Then: Price stopped the favourite for super-heavyweight gold, Russia's Islam Timurziev, in the second round of his opening contest, but Italy's Roberto Cammarelle was too powerful in the semi-final and stopped Price in round two.
Now: Price is setting up a boxing skills programme to improve the fitness of children in his home city, Liverpool.
Next: The European Amateur Championships take place in Liverpool in November. After that, Price will have to choose between going pro or remaining an amateur for 2012.
Age 25, born Wandsworth, London
BRONZE: Sailing - women's RS:X
Then: Shaw began her medal race in third place with 41 points. Chinese sailor Yin Jian took gold, Italy's Alessandra Sensini won silver, and Shaw held on for bronze on her Olympic debut.
Now: Shaw has been back in action off the coast of Weymouth, placing third in the Skandia Sail for Gold regatta.
Next: "I have a great opportunity to win the gold in my home town. I have sailed and raced there since I was 15 and that venue knowledge is vital," Shaw told Cardiff student newspaper Gair Rhydd. "I am a lot younger than most of my closest competitors, which hands me the fitness advantage."
Age 19, born Peterborough
BRONZE: Gymnastics - men's pommel horse
Then: Smith's tremendous performance initially lifted him to silver position. China's Qin Xiao won gold with 15.875, but it was Croatia's Filip Ude who just edged out the Brit on the tiebreaker, with fewer deductions on count-back for artistic merit. "I hope this medal is a stepping stone for British gymnastics," said Smith.
Olympic gym star Smith on life since Beijing
Now: "The phone's been going crazy, my coach has been bombarded with emails," Smith told BBC Sport in early October. "I've just come back from Ready, Steady, Cook - it was brilliant."
Next: Smith says he will use the 2009 World Championships - to be held in London - as a stepping stone to the 2012 Games.
Age 25, born Doncaster
Then: Stevenson had lost her +67kg quarter-final to China's Chen Zhong, but a successful appeal against a controversial judging decision gave her a second chance. After a semi-final defeat to Mexico's Maria del Rosario Espinoza she regained her composure to beat Noha Abd Rabo 5-1 for the bronze.
Now: Stevenson has had a minor flare-up with Doncaster mayor Martin Winter, whose comment that a full civic reception for her would have been "overkill" led to a heated exchange of views. "Sarah kicked the Chinese girl in the face at the Olympics and now Mayor Winter has kicked her in the face," said dad Roy.
Next: Injury sustained at the Games will stop Stevenson taking part in the first British International Open of taekwondo, to be held in Manchester in November, but she will still be in attendance. She has not yet announced any future plans.
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