As the working week edged towards an end yesterday, New Zealanders wolfed down lunch before settling in to watch Emma Twigg start the single sculls final at 12.25pm.
An hour later they had something more pleasant to digest: two gold medals and a silver.
In one of the most extraordinary hours in the country's sporting history, Twigg distanced her rivals in the single, then sat back and watched the women's eight claim second before the men's crew put the ultimate exclamation mark on a magnificent Olympic regatta.
In scenes reminiscent of the sepia-toned days of 1972, the men's eight powered away at the halfway mark of their race and held off the fast-finishing Germans and Great Britain. They did so without the benefit of rest, having been forced into a repechage when they finished behind the Netherlands in their heat.
The prevailing thought was that they would be fighting for the minor medals.
"Waking up this morning I thought we could get first; I thought we could get last," said Hamish Bond, who cemented his status on the Mt Rushmore of New Zealand Olympians.
Do not bet against Bond, no matter how big or small the boat. Driving the team on from the second seat, he crossed the line first for the third time in an Olympic final, the first New Zealander to win gold in three successive Olympics.
The 35-year-old Otagoite promptly paid tribute to the crew who raced immediately before them.
"The women's eight, they've been our benchmark for the whole year. We've been comparing ourselves to that crew for 12 months," Bond said. "If we could get up to that benchmark, we'd be in with a show."
That eight, who included newly minted doubles gold medallists Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler, finished second, just falling short of overhauling the Canadian crew in an epic battle.
Even Bond would concede, however, that the eights weren't even the best story of the day.
That would belong to Twigg, so long the brilliant but luckless face of the sport. A five-time world championship medallist, dating back to Lake Karapiro in 2010, and a world champion in 2014, Twigg's Olympic odyssey has been a hard-luck chronicle.
Sixth as a neophyte in 2008, she had high hopes of a medal in London but got caught in the wrong lane in a final buffeted by crosswinds. Four years later she capped off a disrupted, fractious campaign by again finishing fourth, this time just .35s off the dais.
Twigg promptly retired from the sport, lamenting: "It's something I'll have to live with for the rest of my life that I won't be an Olympic champion, which is a dream I've had since I was a young girl".
Even in retirement, as she worked for the International Olympic Committee, a small part of that dream refused to die.
Twigg, 34, came back to the sport two years ago with a new, more balanced philosophy on life and sport that she credits to her "beautiful wife" Charlotte.
Just a few hundred metres down Tokyo's Sea Forest Waterway it became apparent the next chapter of her story would be an uplifting one.
She blitzed Russia's Hanna Prakatsen and Magdalena Lobnig with boat lengths to spare but having become so used to crushing disappointment, Twigg looked like she could not process the moment. There was no outside show of elation, just bone-deep exhaustion and gratitude to those who helped her there.
"She came into the squad at the same time as me," Bond noted. "To see her overcome adversity, to have the perseverance to come back and win a gold medal, I'm so pleased for her."
The final word on one of the greatest New Zealand hours of sport has to go to Twigg.
"I would say to anyone that has had a little bit of failure, keep at it."
Wise words indeed – be like Emma.
As if the day couldn't get any better, superstar-in-the-making David Nyika guaranteed himself a medal by winning his heavyweight boxing quarterfinal and the doubles pair of Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell won bronze in the tennis.
Yes, tennis. It was that sort of day.