Phillips Idowu had lost out to Nelson Evora in both Osaka and Beijing, but in almost still conditions here in Berlin it was third-time lucky for the red-haired Triple jumper from Great Britain.
The gauntlet was thrown down with the very first jump of the competition as defending champion Evora landed at 17.54m. Leevan Sands joined him over 17 metres with a 17.20m effort before Idowu threatened Evora's lead with a 17.51m jump. Olympic silver medallist David Giralt closed out the first round with a 17.26m jump.
Already the competition was alive and it was shaping up to be a rematch between the top four from last year's Olympics. Could Evora win gold again? Would Idowu avenge his Beijing defeat? Will Giralt finish on the podium?
The only significant change in round two was a 17.19m leap by Cuba's Alexis Copello to move into fifth, while Idowu recorded a solid 17.44m to challenge Evora's lead once more.
The Portugese athlete responded in the third with a 17.38m jump, but then came the defining moment as Idowu, the World indoor champion, executed a near-perfect hop, step and jump to break the sand at the 17.73m mark. It was a world-leading jump and an outdoor PB for the Briton, but more importantly it put him in the gold medal position.
Evora, who is more accustomed to putting the pressure on early with big marks and waiting for others to respond, was now in unfamiliar territory.
As round four began, the competition waved goodbye to the bottom four - Momchil Karailiev of Bulgaria (16.82m), Great Britain's Nathan Douglas (16.79m), Teddy Tamgho of France (16.79m), and Slovakian Dmitriy Valukevic (16.54m).
Meanwhile, Igor Spasovkhodskiy of Russia and Jadel Gregorio of Brazil earned themselves the right to three more jumps with best efforts of 16.91m and 16.89m, respectively. Neither athlete was to improve though and they wound up seventh and eighth in the overall standings.
Copello produced a huge effort with his fourth attempt that appeared to land at around the 17.60m-17.70m mark, but it was called a foul. Copello was devastated, but fired up for his next attempt.
Evora and Idowu both fouled, but China's Li Yanxi produced his best jump of the night in this round with a 17.23m leap to move up to fourth.
That position was short-lived however as Sands, from the Bahamas, responded with a 17.32m leap to move into bronze. Had the competition ended at this point, we would have had the same medallists from Beijing (albeit in a slightly different order) and Giralt would once again finish outside the medals.
Unfortunately, the situation went from bad to worse for Giralt in the final round. Team-mate Copello finally nailed a good jump and his 17.36m moved him into bronze. Yanxi, Sands and a disappointed Giralt did not improve. Evora, however, was not quite finished.
Putting together his best jump of the night, the former high jumper shot up out of the pit, eagerly looking to the officials to measure the jump. But as he eyed it up to the pit-side marker, Evora knew in his heart of hearts that it was not enough and the scoreboard confirmed it as it flashed up the numbers 17.55m. It was his best of the night - but just not enough to beat Idowu.
Immediately the focus switched to the winner. After landing World and European titles indoors and the Commonwealth title outdoors, Idowu finally bagged the global gold medal that had eluded him for so long.
And with a flag around his neck and a tear in his eye, he embarked on his victory lap - minus his Beijing demons.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF