Camille Muffat won the women's 400m freestyle swimming gold on Sunday, part of a double triumph for France in the Olympic Aquatics Centre.
Muffat's victory in 4min 01.45sec made her just the second French woman ever to win an Olympic swimming title after Laure Manaudou -- gold medallist in the same event in 2004.
"It means a lot to me," Muffat said of matching Manaudou's feat. "I had to make a choice between the medley and the freestyle. Now I can say I it's a good decision."
Muffat's victory was a curtain-raiser for the stunning French victory in the men's 4x100m freestyle relay. They rallied to beat the United States with Russia taking bronze ahead of shocked favorites Australia.
Muffat will have to see all of that action on replay.
"I didn't watch the men's relay as I was waiting for the podium, I only heard afterwards," she said. "I was delighted for them."
As for her own victory, even after that trip to the podium, she said "it really hasn't sunk in".
"It's one of my first victories and it is one that I had to win," said Muffat, who came out on top in a tense battle with American Allison Schmitt.
"At the end it really started to hurt which is unusual for me, but it is an Olympic final."
Schmitt took silver in 4:01.77 and 2008 Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington of Britain stormed home for bronze in 4:03.01 to the deafening cheers of the home crowd.
"The crowd definitely lifted me to get that bronze medal and I can't wait to go and share it with them," Adlington said after opening the host country's medal account in the pool.
"Another Olympic medal is just unbelievable and there is not an ounce of disappointment. I gave it my absolute all."
Schmitt said the buzz surrounding Adlington, who still has her defence of the 800m freestyle title she won in Beijing coming up, helped her too.
"I used the energy from the crowd, they went crazy when Rebecca Adlington came out," said Schmitt, who trains in Baltimore with US great Michael Phelps under coach Bob Bowman.
"I have been working hard this year, I have been focusing solely on swimming," said Schmitt, who is qualified to swim the 200m freestyle.
"The move to Baltimore has made me stronger."