9 August 2012

Rudisha And Bolt Take Centre Stage As Records Drop Like Flies

There was a great sense of expectation surrounding the Olympic Stadium as many people were hoping to see unforgettable performances on the track. The majority of the hype surrounded the latest instalment of Bolt v Blake but there was a man with other ideas. The Kenyan world record holder and defending 800 metres world champion David Rudisha was probably the biggest favourite of any event in this Olympics' athletics competition. 

His coach Colm O'Connell said that: "There are three things on a global level that you can achieve in athletics, he has two of them. There is one missing. Winning the Olympics, he knows, will give him immortality." The 23-year-old has had an amazing rise from Maasai warrior to world record holder and it was O'Connell who plucked him out of obscurity over eight years ago. He ran 1.49.6 in his first ever 800 metres in Kenya in horrendous conditions. Lord Sebastian Coe, the former world-record holder, said before tonight's final that he thinks Rudisha is the only man that could possibly one day run under 1 minute 40. His record stood at 1.41.01 going into tonight's final and he was hoping to beat that.

He went fast from the start and ran the first 200 metres in just 23 seconds and as he completed the opening lap in under 50 seconds it became clear that no one would beat him. From then on it was just Rudisha against the clock and he didn't run out of steam as he stormed through to win in 1.40.91 to beat his own record by one-tenth of a second. His amazing time brought the other athletes through in fast times as all the runners ran either personal or season's bests. Botswana's 17-year-old Nijel Amos broke the world junior record to take silver in 1.41.73 while 18-year-old Timothy Kitum of Kenya took bronze. 

Rudisha was delighted with his ground-breaking run: "Well I'm very happy, this is the moment that I've been waiting for for a very long time. I was well prepared and I had no doubt of winning and I'm in good shape and knew that I could run 1 minute 40. Today the weather was just beautiful so I just went for it."

Great Britain's Andrew Osagie finished over two and a half seconds behind in eighth place but still ran a personal best of 1.43.77 and he was in shock at the speed of Rudisha: "Usually that sort of time would take medals in major events. Many people thought that David would try and break the world record but I didn't think that he'd actually do it. I have run a season's best and personal best but I came last! So mixed emotions at the moment."

However there was much more to come in the form of the 200 metres and the Bolt and Blake show-down. The 100 metres champion Usain Bolt held the world record thanks to a 19.19 run in Berlin three years ago but compatriot Yohan Blake had come close to that with an effort of 19.26. After sealing a one-two in the shortest distance the Jamaicans were hoping for a clean sweep this time around. Bolt flew out of the blocks and Blake was immediately behind as his team-mate got away from him around the bend. 'The Beast' fought back and with about 20 metres to go it looked like he might overhaul the great sprinter but the now five-time Olympic champion streaked away to win in 19.32 seconds. Blake finished in 19.44 as youngster Warren Weir completed his country's clean sweep as he took bronze in 19.84. 

Bolt is now the first athlete to win five Olympic gold medals before turning 26 and is also the first man to successfully defend the Olympic 200 metres title. He now has four individual sprint golds which takes him past Carl Lewis as the greatest Olympic sprinter ever. 


  1. Opening lap was 49.28 and Osagie was 2.86 secs back. Definitely the potential for a sub 1:39 with a steadier opening 200m.

  2. Yeah he could definitely go under one minute 40 in the future. He didn't need to go out quite so fast. I was also impressed with the woman from Burundi in the women's 800 semis. Not much technique but raw pace.