In a stunning reversal of form from the 2016 UCI Track World Championships where they finished sixth, Philip Hindes, Jason Kenny and Callum Skinner pipped the world champions for gold by around 100th of a second.
It was not a similar story for the Australians who only improved one spot from the World Championships to fourth in a disappointingly close bronze final.
“That’s sport. We have been on the winning side of that scenario before,” Glaetzer said.
“I mean, yes it's disappointing seeing we came fourth on the scoreboard but we are at the Olympics and we rode our hearts out for our country and we can’t do much more than that.”
But in heat two, Australia did defeat the 2016 World Championships silver medalists, the Netherlands to progress to the bronze medal final. Glaetzer, Nathan Hart and Pat Constable also posted the third fastest time in the opening qualifying round.
The Kiwis and the Brits swapped Olympic records throughout the evening. First set by Great Britain in qualifying, then by New Zealand and finally back again with the gold medalists.
"It was all a bit of a surprise really," Kenny said. "We've been going quite well in training so we had a rough idea of what we could do but we surpassed that in that first ride when we set that Olympic record."
"At that point I thought we could run away with it like London but then New Zealand came back at us and set the benchmark. We just went into the final with nothing to lose," he said.
Men's team sprint results
- Great Britain 42.562
- New Zealand 42.673
- Australia 43.158
- France 43.185
- Poland 43.297
- Netherlands 43.688
- Germany 43.711
- Venezuela 44.263
- France 43.153 Qualified for bronze
- Poland 43.555
- Australia 43.166 Qualified for bronze
- Netherlands 43.552
- New Zealand 42.535 Qualified for gold
- Germany 43.455
- Great Britain 42.640 Qualified for gold
- Venezuela 44.486
Race for gold
- Great Britain 42.440 G
- New Zealand 42.542 S
Race for bronze
- France 43.143 B
- Australia 43.298 4th