On another sensational night at the Olympic Stadium, David Rudisha of Kenya broke the 800m world record while Usain Bolt nearly broke his own record as he won the 200m.
Rudisha ran a brilliant race to win the 800m in a new world record of 1:40.91, with Botswana’s 18-year-old Nijel Amos winning silver in a world junior record time of 1:41,73 and Kenya’s Timothy Kitum winning bronze in 1:42,53.
Rudisha took the lead from the start completing the first lap in a brilliant 49,3 seconds.
Four other athletes also went under 50 seconds but with 200m to go he turned on the speed and power to leave the rest of the field behind and break his previous world record of 1:41,01.
It was a phenomenal performance that drew praise from Lord Sebastian Coe, the chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.
“That was simply an unbelievable performance. David Rudisha showed supreme physical and mental confidence to run like that in an Olympic final,” he said.
“In stead of just doing enough to win the race, he wanted to do something extraordinary and go for the world record as well,” he added.
“Rudisha’s run will go down in history as one of the greatest Olympic victories. I feel privileged to have witnessed it in London,” he said.
Rudisha was elated with his performance.
“I am very happy. I have waited for this moment for a very long time.To come here and get a world record is unbelievable. I had no doubt about winning. Today the weather was beautiful and I decided to go for it,” he said.
On winning for his friend, Sebastian Coe, Rudisha said:
“Lord Coe is a good friend of mine. I came here in February and he took me around the Olympic Stadium. I wanted to come here and make him proud.”
For once, Usain Bolt was overshadowed, but he remained the crowd favourite as they went crazy when he stepped onto the track for the 200m.
Bolt got off to a great start and with his long strides soon took the lead. Going into the final home straight he was well ahead of compatriot Yohan Blake and even eased up at the end to win in 19,32 seconds. It was a season’s best time for Bolt and not far from his world record of 19,19 seconds.
Blake came second in 19,44, while another Jamaican, Warren Weir came third in 19,84.
Afterwards Bolt said he had achieved his aim of becoming a legend.
“It’s what I came here to do. I’m now a legend. I’m also the greatest athlete to live. I am in the same category as Michael Johnson and I am honoured. It’s all about Michael Johnson for me. I grew up watching him break world records. He’s a great athlete,” he said.
“I’ve got nothing left to prove. I’ve showed the world I’m the best and right now I just want to enjoy myself. This is my moment, I’ll never forget this,” he said.
Bolt had a special word for his fans in Jamaica.
“If I started thanking all the people I have to thank I would be here all year. But I would like to thank my management staff, fans in Jamaica and in kingston,” he said.
Yohan Blake congratulated Bolt on his victory.
“It’s great. I want to thank Usain Bolt and Jamaica. This is my first Olympics, I cant complain,” he said.
“This moment here is special for Jamaica. This is so good to get the one, two and three,” he added.
Christian Taylor of the United States won the Men’s Triple Jump with the a season’s best distance of 17,81 meters. It was the longest leap in the world this year but was still a bit off Jonathan Edwards’ world record of 18,29 which has stood for 17 years.
Will Claye of the United States came second in 17,62 and Fabrizio Donata of Italy third in 17,48.
“I was going for it. I said I was going to go for the world record in front of Jonathan Edwards, he’s my idol. It’s a special moment to share with my family and my coach,” Taylor said.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s Caster Semenya ran the fastest time in the women’s 800m semifinals, when she won her heat in a season’s best time of 1:57,67.
Pamela Jelimo of Kenya, who won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics won her heat in 1:59,42, while the 2011 world champion Mariya Savinova of Russia won the third heat in 1:58,57.
Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic won the Women’s Javelin with a distance of 69,55 which was well off her world record of 72,28 that she set in 2008.
Christina Obergfoll of Germany won silver with 65,16 while another German Linda Stahl won bronze with 64,91. South Africa’s Sunette Viljoen just missed out on a medal after coming fourth with 64,53.
In the Men’s Decathlon, Ashton Eaton of the United States won the gold medal with 8 869 points, which was outside his world record of 9 039 that he set at the United States trials in June this year.
Trey Hardee of the United States won silver with 8 671 and Leonel Suarez of Cuba won bronze with 8 523.