11 August 2012

Bolt Takes Sixth Olympic Gold After Mo Farah Completes Double On Amazing Last Athletics Night

There was an immense sense of expectation surrounding the Olympic Stadium as the 80,000 strong crowd waited for the last night of athletics. The majority of the crowd were there to watch Brit Mo Farah's attempt to break records and win the 5,000 metres exactly a week after his 10,000 triumph. There were the small matters of the men's 4x100 metres and women's 4x400 metres relays to follow but the attention was firmly on Farah and company as the men's 5,000 metres final kicked off the evening. 

After Super Saturday's dramatic win in his more favoured event Farah was hoping that he could replicate that and complete the double with 5,000 metres gold. He had plenty of competition on the starting line in the shape of Dejen Gebremeskel and Yenew Alamirew of Ethiopia, the two fastest qualifiers, and Kenyan Isiah Kiplangat Koech and Hayle Ibrahimov of Azerbaijan who both finished ahead of the Brit in their heat. Add in Farah's American training partner Galen Rupp and this was always going to be a great race.

A deafening roar was let out as the Somalian-born runner was introduced to the crowd and a similar rumble was felt after the starter's gun. Farah kept himself in contention with considerable ease as it became clear that the race was going to be slow and won by the best sprint finish. The 29-year-old gradually moved his way into second place and he made his move with just over 600 metres to go as he pushed away from the Ethiopians to take a narrow lead. As the athletes took the bell it appeared as though Farah was being reeled in and by the time they had completed the back straight he had five runners less than a few metres behind. But his opponents should know by now never to rule him out and the crowd appeared to lift him as he kicked on around the bend. Down the home straight he stretched his lead and sprinted away to win in 13:41.66  ahead of Ethiopia's Dejen Gebremeskel (13:41.98) in silver and Kenya's Thomas Pkemei Longosiwa (13:42.36) in bronze.

Farah became the first Briton to win a long-distance track event at the Olympics a week ago and this latest  achievement makes him the first man to ever win the Olympic 5,000 metre title on home soil as well as just the seventh man to win both the 10,000 and 5,000 metres in the same Games. He joined an illustrious list that includes Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Miruts Yifter, Finns Lasse Virens and Hannes Kolehmainen, Vladimir Kuts of the USSR and Czech Emil Zapotek.

There was more to come in the Olympic Stadium as the Jamaicans set the second 4x100 metre relay world record of the Games. The quartet of Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Nesta Carter and Michael Frater went into the final as favourites and the overcame their American rivals to win in a ground-breaking time of 36.85 seconds. A USA team including Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin kept up with the team in the lane next to them for the majority of the race but the now six-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt ran away from Ryan Bailey to ensure his third gold medal of these Olympics. Bolt is now just four behind Carl Lewis' record of ten Olympic golds and is the first man to win six sprinting titles over two Olympics. Young apprentice Yohan Blake collected his first gold and he hopes that there will be many more in four years time.

In the women's 4x400 metre relay the Americans cruised to their second relay gold with Allyson Felix claiming her third of these Olympics. The Brits could not live with the pace and Christine Ohuruogu was left with too much to do on the final lap as they finished outside of the medals. In the women's 800 metre final Russian Mariya Savinova won in 1:56.19 as favourite Caster Semenya left it too late to mount a challenge and took silver. 

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