An overwhelming favorite for the 800m, Rudisha could have won the gold medal any way he saw fit, but chose to try to break his own world record and did so in unforgettable fashion.
Great Britain’s Farah came into his home Games under pressure to deliver medals in the 10,000m or 5000m – he won both in thrilling style, seven days apart. If there had been a roof on the stadium it would have come off as 80,000 people roared Farah to victory.
In the 800m, Rudisha’s time of 1:40.91 took 0.10 off his previous record as all eight finalists set record times, and drew praise from the watching London 2012 Organizing Committee Chair Seb Coe.
‘That was simply an unbelievable performance,’ the former Olympic 800m silver medalist said.
‘David Rudisha showed supreme physical and mental confidence to run like that in an Olympic final.
‘Instead of just doing enough to win the race he wanted to do something extraordinary and go for the world record as well.
“Rudisha’s run will go down in history as one of the greatest Olympic victories. I feel privileged to have witnessed it in London.” Seb Coe, Chair of the London 2012 Organizing Committee and Olympic gold medalist.
Rudisha, who has spoken of his desire to race Bolt in the 4 x 400m Relay, said: ‘It was something special. A world record in the Olympics is something fantastic. I want to become a legend in the 800m.’
Becoming a legend was also the long-held goal of Bolt, who felt he needed to retain his 100m and 200m titles from Beijing 2008 to be worthy of the accolade.
The 25-year-old won the 100m in a time of 9.63 seconds, an Olympic record and just 0.05 outside his own world record.
Bolt won the 200m in 19.32 – outside the 19.19 world record – but in the 4 x 100m Relay he helped break a world record, the Jamaican quartet lowering their own mark by a fifth of a second.
‘I am a living legend, bask in my glory,’ Bolt said after the 200m final.
Farah became one of a handful of men in Olympic history to complete the long-distance double and said: ‘It’s an unbelievable feeling, the best feeling ever.’
There were standout performances right across the programme – from Felix Sanchez’s golden night in the 400m Hurdles to Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich stunning the Kenyan challenge to clinch Olympic Games gold in the men’s Marathon on The Mall.