Team GB's Gemma Gibbons lost her under-78kg judo final 2-0 to the USA's Kayla Harrison to win silver at the London 2012 Olympics.
After the emotion of her semi-final victory over world champion Audrey Tcheuméo, Gibbons was comprehensively beaten by the 22-year-old gold medalist.
Gibbons, 25, cried "I love you mum" after she defeated Tcheuméo with a golden score - a sudden death situation where the clock is reset to match-time - to reach the final. Gibbons' mother died when she was 17.
Kate Howey was the last British judoka to win a medal before Gibson when she took silver in the under-70kg at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
Prime minister David Cameron and Russian president Vladimir Putin were in attendance at the ExCel Arena.
However Mr Cameron narrowly missed Gibbons's semi-final victory over French representative Tcheuméo after talks on trade, Syria and human rights at Downing Street ran over.
Mr Putin is an honorary president of the International Judo Federation and a former St Petersburg judo champion.
Gibbons is currently a student at the University of East London studying a Masters in Exercise Science and Health.
The High Performance Sports Manager at UEL said: "Both the staff and students at the University of East London are absolutely thrilled that Gemma has won the silver medal. Her inclusion in the final was far more than we ever expected, so today marks a fantastic day for British Judo."