Greek icon Pyrros Dimas failed in his bid to win an unprecedented fourth straight Olympic weightlifting gold, but took bronze in the 85 kg class.
The 32-year-old, who carried the hosts' flag at the opening ceremony, narrowly failed to lift the 207.5 kg that would have given him the title once again.
And he finished behind Georgian winner George Asanidze and Andrei Rybakou.
The medal ceremony then ground to a halt for five minutes as home fans bade a sad farewell to one of their heroes.
"It is understandable that I stole the show tonight even with the bronze," said Dimas.
"The arena was packed with Greeks and they know what I have been through with injuries, surgery and the problems of the last few days. It was my farewall party."
In other news, super-heavyweight Tang Gonghong set a new world record as she won China's third gold medal.
The 1998 world champion set a new clean and jerk record of 182.5kg with her last lift which combined with a 122.5kg lift in the snatch for a new record.
Jang Mi-ran took silver with a combined total lift of 302.5kg, just 2.5kg behind the winner.
Poland's Agata Wrobel secured third place with 290kg as the Chinese team kept up their impressive run.