David Lekuta Rudisha of Kenya celebrates next to the clock after winning gold and setting a new world record in the Men's 800m Final on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic on 9 August 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Rudisha showed that tactical races needn't be slow. Indeed, Rudisha's sole tactic was to simply run at a pace that no one else can manage and he led the field through 400m in 49.28. He appeared to move up a gear with 300m to go, but despite the hot pace the rest of the field was still relatively close.
After going through 600m in 1:14.30, Rudisha's lead continued to grow. It was only in the closing stages that World junior champion Nijel Amos was able to make a dent in Rudisha's lead, but he was nowhere near catching the Kenyan. Meanwhile the other athletes in the field were being dragged through to the finish at a pace that most of them had never before run, scrapping for the bronze medal.
Rudisha crossed the line in 1:40.91, taking a tenth of a second off the World record he set two years ago in Rieti. But almost as staggering was the series of times that followed him across the line – Amos smashed the World junior record with 1:41.73, equalling the time set by Seb Coe in 1981 when he set the then World record.
Rudisha's team-mate Timothy Kitum set a Kenyan junior record and world age-17 best of 1:42.53 to take the bronze medal, closely followed by US duo Duane Solomon (1:42.82) and Nick Symmonds (1:42.95), both setting huge PBs. In sixth, Mohamed Aman broke his own Ethiopian record with 1:43.20, while Sudan's Abubaker Kaki was the only athlete not to set a PB, clocking 1:43.31 in seventh. Britain's Andrew Osagie rounded out the finalists with a PB of 1:43.77 for eighth.
With Rudisha breaking 1:41, two men under 1:42, five under 1:43 and all eight under 1:44, it was the greatest depth 800m race in history. The last time an 800m World record had been broken in a championships final was at the 1976 Olympics, when Alberto Juantorena ran 1:43.50.
Having now broken the world record three times and won gold at the World Championships and Olympic Games, Rudisha has etched his name in history as not only one of the greatest ever 800m runners, but as one of the greatest ever athletes, period.
Historic sweep for Jamaica as Bolt retains Olympic 200m title
When Michael Johnson ran 19.32 at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, it propelled him into superstardom. He became the face of the Games and his performance was hailed as 'arguably the toughest world record on the track'.
It speaks volumes of Bolt's incredible ability that the same 19.32 clocking, for him, represents 'just' the third-fastest time of his career, and was not even the best performance on the track tonight. But that's to take nothing from Bolt, whose turnaround in form in recent weeks has been incredible.
Just a few weeks ago, training partner Yohan Blake had made Bolt look almost human when he beat him in both sprinting events at the Jamaican Championships. In London though, Bolt has shown who's boss – first in the 100m last weekend, and now with the 200m, successfully defending both of his Olympic titles.
Bolt had the lead coming off the bend, but for the first time at a championships since his big breakthrough four years ago, he found he had company down the home stretch. Blake pushed the big man all the way, but Bolt had the edge, winning in 19.32 as Blake closed in 19.44 – the fastest non-winning performance in history. Warren Weir – a training partner of Bolt and Blake – was the surprise package of the race, completing a Jamaican sweep of the medals with a huge 19.84 personal best.
If there was any doubt that the tide was turning in the sprinting world from the USA to Jamaica, then tonight's 200m final was further confirmation. It's the first time ever at the Olympics that Jamaica has swept the medals in a men's event. It's also only the third time in Olympic history (excluding the 1980 boycott) that USA has failed to win a medal in this event.
Wallace Spearmon was the top American, running 19.90 for fourth, while Churandy Martina finished fifth.
Eaton takes Decathlon gold, just shy of Olympic record
If there are just two things that any athlete dreams of, it's the World record and an Olympic gold. USA's Ashton Eaton has achieved both of those ambitions within the space of two months as tonight he struck gold in the Decathlon, following on from his World-record breaking performance from earlier this season.
His 9039 tally at the US Trials was such a stunning all-round display of athleticism, Eaton was always going to be hard-pushed to better that score at the London Olympics. He maintained from the outset that winning the gold would be his main aim, and he easily achieved that with a score of 8869, winning by almost 200 points.
After leading overnight by more than 200 points, two-time World champion Trey Hardee made a dent in Eaton's lead in the first two events of the second day as he beat Eaton in the 110m Hurdles, 13.54 to 13.56, and then threw almost six metres farther in the discus, 48.28m to 42.53m. But even then the gap between the American pair was still significant at 99 points.
Eaton opened up his lead again after the Pole Vault, where he cleared 5.20m before retiring from the competition to save himself for the javelin. Hardee managed just 4.80m, but was still on course to take the silver medal. The top vaulters of the day were Gonzalo Barroilhet of Chile and Eelco Sintnicolaas of the Netherlands, clearing 5.40m and 5.30m respectively. Although they shot up the overall standings, they were still outside medal contention.
Eaton's only PB of the entire competition came in the javelin, where he sent the spear flying out to 61.96m. It meant that he would only have to dip inside 4:30 in the 1500m to break Roman Sebrle's 8893 Olympic record. But today was not about records and Eaton was content to get around in 4:33.59. Hardee held on for the silver, setting a PB of 4:40.94 in the final event to score 8671 overall.
After a last-round clutch throw to stay in the discus and jumping below his best in the Pole Vault, Cuba's Leonel Suarez bounced back in the javelin with a stunning 76.94m throw – the farthest ever achieved in a Decathlon at the Olympics. It gave him just the points cushion over Belgium's Hans Van Alphen he needed as they headed into the final event. Van Alphen had continued his solid form across all events on the second day to put up a strong fight for a medal, but ultimately the Cuban was too good. With 4:30.08 in the 1500m, he took bronze with 8523, 76 points ahead of Van Alphen.
The revelation of the competition, though, has been Damian Warner. The Canadian came to London having just scraped over 8100 points this year. But he set six personal bests across the two days and added 335 points to his PB to finish fifth overall in 8442. The former long jumper only turned to the decathlon two years ago, and given his rapid progression and young age (22), he could well be a medal force at next year's World Championships.
Taylor and Claye once again on top in the Triple Jump
World champion Christian Taylor was facing a potential disaster in tonight's Triple Jump final. He recorded fouls on his opening two jumps – the second being a particularly big jump – and needed to register a good valid mark to stay in the competition.
His 17.15m did the job, but that only put him in fifth place. Team-mate Will Claye was leading with 17.54m as Italian duo Fabrizio Donato and Daniele Greco were also on top form. But in round four, Taylor bounded out to a world-leading 17.81m to take top spot.
Claye tried his best to respond and improved to 17.62m, but it was not enough and Taylor's arch-rival and friend had to settle for silver, reversing the finish from this year's World Indoor Championships. Donato, meanwhile, put together his best ever series at a global outdoor championships, improving in each of the first four rounds to take bronze with 17.48m. Team-mate Greco was fourth with 17.34m.
But there were horrific scenes mid-way through the competition. Defending bronze medallist Leevan Sands had looked to be in form to challenge for a medal, but on his fourth-round attempt his knee buckled on the final stage of his jump and he landed in a heap in the sandpit, clearly in agony. After several moments he was stretchered away from the pit.
Spotakova in a different league as she defends title
Any of Barbora Spotakova's valid marks in tonight's javelin final would have easily been enough to win the title as the Czech woman dominated proceedings. Held relatively late in tonight's schedule, the competition did not have the same excitement as last year's World final, and World Champion Mariya Abakumova did not even make it past the half-way stage, finishing 10th.
Spotakova's opening throw of 66.90m held the lead for the first three rounds before she unleashed her best mark of the day with a world-leading 69.55m in round four. Christina Obergfoll's opening throw of 65.16m saw her last the duration of the competition in the silver medal position, going one better than in Beijing four years ago, but adding to her collection of silver medals to go alongside those from the 2005 and 2007 World Championships and 2010 and 2012 Europeans.
World bronze medallist Sunette Viljoen was in third place for much of the competition until Germany's Linda Stahl produced a season's best of 64.91m to snatch the bronze medal in round four. China's Lu Huihui was fifth (63.70m), while Kathrina Molitor (62.89m) made it three Germans in the top six.
Excitement in relay heats
Bumping, barging, trips, falls, disqualifications and DNFs – and this was just the first round! The heats of the men's 4x400m were among the most eventful ever witnessed at the Olympic Games. In the first race, Trinidad & Tobago crossed the line level with Great Britain in 3:00.38, a national record for the former.
But most of the drama happened further down the field. On the second leg, Kenya's Vincent Kiilu moved out wide on the last bend, forcing South Africa's Ofentse Mogawane to trip as the pair collided. While Kiilu got back up on his feet, Mogawane had clearly come off worse and could not finish his lap, leaving Oscar Pistorius standing in the changeover zone. After an appeal, World silver medallists South Africa were given the spare ninth lane in the final, while Kenya was disqualified.
In the second heat, Bahamas took an early lead and at half way they were more than a second ahead of favourites USA, thanks to a 43.7 split from Demetrius Pinder. USA's Tony McQuay did a great job of chasing down the Bahamas with a 43.65 leg on the third stage, and the teams finished level with each other in 2:58.87 – the fastest ever heat time at the Olympics. USA's first-leg runner Manteo Mitchell appeared to have picked up an injury during the race and it was later discovered that he had been running with a broken fibula.
World bronze medallists Jamaica will not be in the final though, after third-leg runner and national record-holder Jermaine Gonzales pulled up. The Dominican Republic initially advanced to the final as a time qualifier – thanks to a 44.19 anchor from Luguelin Santos – but they were later disqualified.
There were fewer blunders in the women's 4x100m heats and the only surprise was that the Olympic record came under threat. The US women's quartet put together three slick exchanges to bring the baton home in 41.64 – just 0.04 outside the Olympic record. Trinidad & Tobago set a national record of 42.31 in second, so too did fourth-placers Netherlands (42.45). Brazil set an Area record of 42.55, which was good enough to advance to the final as a time qualifier.
Jamaica were expected to win the second semi-final, but some poor exchanges saw Kerron Stewart having to chase down Ukraine in the home straight. Elizabeta Bryzgina held on for the win though in 42.36 to 42.37. Germany were the third automatic qualifiers.
The semi-finals of the women's 800m featured the defending Olympic champion, the European champion, and the past three World champions – and all of them advanced to the final to set up a mouth-watering clash. Pamela Jelimo, winner in Beijing four years ago, kicked away with ease to book her place in the final in 1:59.42, joined by Yekaterina Poistogova in second (1:59.45).
Then came the fastest and toughest of the semi-finals as 2007 World champion Janeth Jepkosgei led the field through half way in 57.36 seconds before 2009 World champion Caster Semenya cruised through to win in a season's best of 1:56.67 with European champion Yelena Arzhakova placing second (1:58.13). Jepkosgei and Alysia Montano advanced as time qualifiers.
The third semi was won by World champion Mariya Savinova, who bided her time before making her move as Burundi's Francine Niyonsaba chased hard, both taking the automatic qualifying spots.
Earlier today the world's top high jumpers were in action in the qualifying round, with the likes of World champion Anna Chicherova and World Indoor champion Chaunte Lowe making very easy work of their qualification. The pair cleared 1.93m at the first time of asking, which proved sufficient to make the final.
14 jumpers had cleared that height, but after long discussions with the officials it was decided that the bar would go up to 1.96m to whittle the field down to 12. It signalled the end of the competition for 2009 world bronze medallist Ariane Friedrich, whose third-time clearance at a season's best of 1.93m saw her miss out on count-back.
World Indoor silver medallist Ebba Jungmark and European silver medallist Tonje Angelsen also failed to make the final, but European champion Ruth Beitia, Sweden's Emma Green Tregaro and 2.01m jumper Brigetta Barrett all made it through.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF
- David Lekuta Rudisha of Kenya celebrates next to the clock after winning gold and setting a new world record in the Men's 800m Final on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic on 9 August 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Gold winner Barbora Spotakova of Czech Republic celebrating her victory in the Women's Javelin Throw Final of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 9, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Christian Taylor of the United States in action before winning the gold medal in the Men's Triple Jump Final of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 9, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Ashton Eaton of the United States enjoying his first place as he crosses the finish line next to Oleksiy Kasyanov of Ukraine in the Men's Decathlon 1500m of the London 2012 Olympic Games on 9 August 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates in front of teammate Warren Weir of Jamaica after winning gold in the Men's 200m Final of the London 2012 Olympic Games on 9 August 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright