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Britain great on golden athletics night

ESPN staff
August 4, 2012

Every day of the Olympics, we at ESPN Towers will award gold, silver and bronze medals to the top three moments. Here are our choices for day eight...

Medal Table


Absolutely no question about it, it has to be the glorious athletics hour for GB which saw gold medals in heptathlon for Jessica Ennis, long jump for Greg Rutherford, and then in the 10,000 metres for Mo Farah. It was the first time GB athletes had taken three golds in one session at the Games.

Ennis took control of the heptathlon with a blistering time in the first event, the 100m hurdles, and virtually never let go from that point onwards, culminating with a brilliant 800m victory. She had so much expectation on her - she has for at least four years - and she rose to the occasion in some style, finishing over 300 points clear of her nearest rival.

Rutherford might have been expected to medal, but gold was considered a long shot - however, he hadn't read the script. His jump of 8.31 metres was just too good for anyone else in the field.

So it was down to Farah to secure history - and he delivered, becoming the first British man to win a 10,000m gold at the Olympics. It was a tactical masterclass from Farah, who positioned himself shrewdly all race, and then picked the perfect time to produce his kick, putting the seal on a dream night for Great Britain.


Saturday also saw the end of US swimmer Michael Phelps' decorated career, and he finished with a gold - his 18th at the Olympics (he has 22 Games medals overall), twice as many as the nearest challenger - to give it a fitting finale. The most successful Olympian of all time wound up with more medals than any other swimmer at London 2012 - four golds and two silvers - despite kicking off with a fourth-place finish in the individual 400m IM. All that glory, and he's still only 27 years of age. Incredible.


Tell you what, those hockey players are tough. GB women's captain Kate Walsh was named in the starting line-up on Saturday against China, less than a week after having a titanium plate fitted, having suffered a fractured jaw against Japan (she only left hospital on Wednesday). She brushed off the setback and played with a protective mask on. Unfortunately, her presence wasn't enough to inspire GB to victory, as they suffered a 2-1 defeat.

"That's the game. It's dangerous," Walsh, who played the full 70 minutes, said afterwards. "I was really keen I didn't want to be a distraction." A fine leader.

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