Renaud Lavillenie broke the men's Olympic pole vault record to take gold for France after an enthralling competition.
Lavillenie, 25, was the only athlete to clear 5.97m at the Olympic Stadium.
Germany's Bjorn Otto won silver, with compatriot Raphael Holzdeppe claiming bronze after both cleared 5.91m.
British record holder
Steve Lewis was one of only six vaulters to make 5.75m,
but failed with his three attempts at 5.85m to finish in a tie for fifth.
Great Britain's Steve Lewis
"What a night! Mixed emotions, but I do know that I am so proud to be British and I want to thank every single person for supporting me."
Australia's defending champion Steve Hooker, two-time world silver medallist Romain Mesnil of France and 2007 world champion Brad Walker from the USA all crashed out at 5.65m.
The competition became a three-way fight when Lavillenie, Otto and Holzdeppe all cleared 5.85m, but when the two Germans vaulted 5.91m at the first attempt, the Frenchman slipped up for the first time in the competition.
Lavillenie, a bronze medallist at last year's World Championships, made a tactical decision to move straight to 5.97m.
It was a move which paid off as he went clear with his second attempt to beat Hooker's Olympic record mark of 5.96m, set in Beijing four years ago.
The Germans both failed to match Lavillenie, and when Otto failed with a one-off shot at 6.02m the gold was heading to France.