Dean Macey clinched fourth place in the decathlon thanks to a determined display in the 1500m.
DECATHLON STANDINGS (after ten events)
1. Roman Sebrle (Cze) 8893pts
2. Bryan Clay (US) 8820
3. Dmitriy Karpov (Kaz) 8725
4. Dean Macey (GB) 8414
5. Chiel Warners (Ned) 8343
Macey finished second in his heat in four minutes 25.42 seconds to overhaul Chiel Warners of the Netherlands.
Roman Sebrle won the event with a new Olympic record of 8893 points, beating Daley Thompson's record set in Los Angeles in 1984.
American Bryan Clay took silver while long-time leader Dmitriy Karpov of Kazakhstan won bronze.
"After everything that I have gone through, fourth is probably as good as I could have hoped for," admitted Macey afterwards.
"I lost concentration in the pole vault and the javelin and I think that was down to fatigue - I only slept for three hours last night.
"If I was fit, I could have been looking at a score of around 8600.
"But I really wanted to finish the event as it was only my second proper one in two years and I will definitely be back again," he said.
Macey had seen his chances of a medal disappear earlier in the day, thanks to a poor pole vault where he only managed 4.40m.
His best throw in the javelin was only 58.46m, a long way down on his personal best of 64.03 but it still allowed him get close to Warners.
He began the second day well, throwing a personal best of 48.34m in the discus having clocked 14.56 seconds in the 110m hurdles.
Karpov had led overnight and looked good early on, winning the hurdles in 13.97 and also taking the discus with a throw of 51.65m.
But Sebrle flexed his muscles in the javelin, one of his best events, for a new personal best of 70.52 which brought him back up to top spot.
Bryan Clay also brought himself into contention after throwing 69.71 as Karpov slipped to third.
Sebrle kept his cool around the track in the final event despite finishing well off the pace, to claim the Olympic crown.
World champion Tom Pappas withdrew from the competition after injuring his foot in the pole vault.
Pappas had been lying fifth after seven events, but he
limped away from the stadium after making one failed attempt at 4.60m.
Former world record holder Tomas Dvorak pulled out on Monday after aggravating an Achilles tendon injury.