Britain's Nick Dempsey put his Beijing torment behind him to clinch silver in the Olympic RS:X windsurfing class.
Dempsey was second going into the medal race in China before finishing fourth, but he made no mistake in Weymouth.
With Dutchman Dorian van Rijsselberge already taking gold, Dempsey defended second as Poland's Przemyslaw Miarczynski took bronze.
"It's been a difficult four years but I always believed I could come here and do well," said the 31-year-old.
Dempsey finished third in the medal race to seal second place overall but Germany's Toni Wilhelm, who started in the bronze-medal position, lost out to Poland's Miarczynski.
"I'm massively relieved more than anything," Dempsey continued.
"The Dutch guy had such a good start so it was tough coming to terms with the fact I was racing for second. But I was desperate to finish second and I'd already said third was going to be a disaster. And I don't know what I would have done if I'd finished fourth.
"To do it in front of your home crowd - it doesn't get any better. It's going to take a while to sink in."
Weymouth resident Dempsey, who is married to two-time Olympic sailing champion Sarah Ayton, was devastated by his Beijing experience, which Ayton describes as a "nightmare".
But he renewed his focus and became, says Ayton, "a different athlete". Ayton put her own ambitions for a third Olympic title on hold and Dempsey recently moved out of the home he shares with her and their two young sons to concentrate on his training.
"I owe her a huge amount. She's pretty selfless and amazing," Dempsey added.
Windsurfing has been omitted from the 2016 Games in Rio, but Dempsey hinted his Olympic career was not over. "I think it's a moment for reflection but I'm pretty sure it's not the end of the road," he said.