Meseret Defar of Ethiopia crosses the finish line and win gold in the Women's 5000m Final of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 10, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Defar, who was relegated to the bronze medal in 2008 when fellow Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba's victory saw her become the first woman to complete a 5000/10,000m double, showed the vintage form which mainly through injuries has eluded her in recent years.
The transition to again being crowned Olympic gold medallist came just after entering the home straight and jumping Dibaba who had led from the fourth kilometre (12:24.81) and forging ahead to win in 15:04.25 - the third successive Games where the 15 minutes barrier has not been broken.
"I'm very happy," said Defar after regaining her title. "It's a great day for me. Since 2008 I have tried everything as I wasn't able to win the Olympics."
The multi-medalled Games and World Championships distance runner added: "I have been hoping for this day for a long time. I have won two Olympic medals before, this is my third. I'm not sure I can do a fourth, so this means a lot to me."
Vivian Cheruiyot, last year's World Championships double winner and determined to improve on her third position in the 10,000m here, immediately raised her game after the winner's break and edging past Dibaba took the silver medal just 0.48 seconds in Defar's slipstream.
Cheruiyot, Kenya's 2012 world leader her preparations not exactly perfect, said: "I'm happy for today. I got a bronze the other day and a silver today.
"I didn't train very well, the injuries stopped me a little bit, but today I've achieved something precious to me."
"Today I was behind Meseret by two steps and when she pushed, I realised it was way too late but I am satisfied."
Dibaba who was only picked by her selectors after her 10,000m success after initially - as in Beijing four years ago - naming her as initially as a reserve and with only 5000m race under her belt this summer, finished third in 15:05.15.
The 26-year-old. not happy with her performance, said: "I'm not very pleased today. I gave it a good shot, but I wasn't aiming for bronze. I'm a bit disappointed, but in a way I'm not sad because I did finish in a medal position."
In what has become on the last three occasions a slow tactical contest, Dibaba after a dawdling first three kilometres passed in 3:07.58, 6:17.35 and 9:27.75 with Jo Pavey and Elena Romagnola sharing pacemaking duties, inserted a 68 seconds split which was a vast improvement of the previous laps.
That injection saw her leading at the bell with the other African's in the line up moving into attacking positions but proving no match for the World's three fastest women of all-time, who dominated the last 400m ran in 60.20sec.
Dibaba, Cheruiyot and Defar, with 200m remaining, were clear and that left the 10,000m runner Sally Kipyego up to follow the charge for home in 15:05.79 followed by Gelete Burka and Viola Kibiwot who clocked 15:10.66 and 15:11.59, to ensure an East African clean sweep of the top six positions.
David Martin for the IAAF
- Meseret Defar of Ethiopia crosses the finish line and win gold in the Women's 5000m Final of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 10, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Meseret Defar of Ethiopia celebrates winning gold in the Women's 5000m Final of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 10, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Meseret Defar of Ethiopia won the gold medal in the Women's 5000m Final of the London 2012 Olympic Games on 10 August 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright