By Andrew Fraser
BBC Sport in Athens
Bradley Wiggins will head home to London next week with a full set of Olympic medals to hand over to his mother for safekeeping.
And in years to come Mrs Wiggins will be able to tell anyone who cares to listen how her son became the most successful British Olympian at a single Games since 1964.
After claiming a stunning cycling gold in the individual pursuit and a silver in the team event, Wiggins saved perhaps his finest ride until last to take bronze with Rob Hayles in the madison.
The British duo had looked set for a repeat of their Sydney misery four years ago, when Hayles broke his collarbone in a final-lap crash and they slipped from second to fourth.
But this time a fired-up Hayles picked himself up off the track after he was sent
tumbling in a tangle with a Dutch rider.
And he and Wiggins produced a storming comeback to clinch bronze in a frantic final sprint and complete an excellent week in the velodrome for Britain.
Team GB signed off with two golds, a silver and a bronze, and Wiggins played a part in three of them.
Born: Belgium, 28 April 1980
Athens 2004: individual pursuit gold, team silver, madison bronze
2003: world pursuit gold, team silver
2002: Commonwealth individual and team pursuit silver
2001: world team pursuit silver
Sydney 2000: team pursuit bronze
1998: Commonwealth team pursuit silver
1997: world junior pursuit gold
Began cycling aged 12 after watching Chris Boardman win gold in Barcelona in 1992
Has joined Credit Agricole team
The last Briton to win three medals at a Games was Mary Rand, who took long jump gold, pentathlon silver and 4x100m relay bronze in Tokyo 40 years ago.
"The medals will probably go with all my world championship and Commonwealth Games ones, and my Olympic bronze from Sydney," said Wiggins.
"They are all at my mother's house for her to proudly clean and look after.
"I'm finding it a bit hard to take in. I've said it before this week and it's becoming a bit of a cliché, but this sort of thing happens to other people.
"It's weird, that word 'heroes'. We're just Bradley Wiggins and Rob Hayles and events in sport this week have changed our lives," he added.
Wiggins and Hayles celebrate their bronze medals.
Britain's week on the track ended as it had begun, with the British fans doing their best to blow the roof off the velodrome in raucous celebration.
Wiggins set the tone with an Olympic record in pursuit qualifying on day one, and Chris Hoy followed suit as he scorched to gold in the kilometre time trial.
The second gold came when Wiggins saw off Australian star Brad McGee in the pursuit final, and he added silver with Hayles, Paul Manning and Steve Cummings in the team event.
Australia's double triumph on the final day - after Britain's keirin world champion Jamie Staff was disqualified in his semi-final - left them top of the medals table.
Track medal table
Australia 5 2 2
GB 2 1 1
Russia 2 1 0
Germany 1 0 3
Canada 1 0 0
New Zealand 1 0 0
But Wiggins and Hayles' madison effort helped Britain better their haul of one gold, one silver and two bronze medals from Sydney.
"To see Bradley ride a bit of history rounded off what has been a fabulous week," team leader David Brailsford told the BBC Sport website.
"We came here with expectations and we certainly met those. My overriding emotion is one of real pride in the riders, and also in the way the staff have operated.
"It's rare in a sporting environment that everything comes your way. This time a lot of it has and I think we've earned that.
"I've no regrets. It's harsh on those individuals who have missed out but overall it's been absolutely fantastic."