What a night! The greatest ever night for British Athletics, the greatest ever day in British Olympic history. There are probably not enough superlatives to describe the events in the Olympic Stadium tonight, it was that good!
Tears of joy, tears of emotion. The golden girl of British Athletics, the poster girl of the Olympic Games, Jessica Ennis, lived up to all the hype. The pressure she was under was immense but she delivered when it mattered most, on the greatest stage of all. What a performance, what a star. From the moment she ran the quickest ever 100m hurdles by a heptathlete yesterday morning she showed that she was determined to literally blow her competitors away and that is exactly what she did. In the final event, the 800m she did not need to win to claim gold but that was not in her psyche, she wanted to put on a show, she wanted to prove what a great champion she is and she did just that. She led from start to finish, the crowd roared her on and as she crossed the line, the nation came together in a moment of mass rejoicing. There was not a dry eye in the house, or on the sofa.
Meanwhile, whilst Jess was doing her thing, and Mo Farah was warming up, events were hotting up in the long jump pit. A relatively unknown Brit, Greg Rutherford, a dark horse for a medal to those in the know, but never really seriously considered a serious gold medal contender, leapt 8.31m and a little surprisingly found himself in front. None of his competitors could respond and all of a sudden it was another gold medal and another dream come true. Just incredible.
And then it was Mo’s turn, in the 10,000m final. A gold was always considered a strong possibility but again, like Jess, could he deliver? So much pressure, in front of an 80,000 capacity crowd cheering his name and desperate for a third gold of the night. And what a race. It ebbed and flowed, slow, fast, slow, cat and mouse, so tense, so tactical, so gripping. Throughout all the hustle and bustle, Mo stayed calm. And then the question on everyone’s lips was when would he make his move? He held off, he held off, he must have been tempted but stuck to his race plan and then just before the bell, he could wait not longer, he took off. What a decisive move, what a moment. And he left the field for dead, an explosion of pace, simply brilliant. No-one could catch him, his blistering speed took him away and he was roared to the finish, and as he crossed the line in triumph you could feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up in recognition of a magical moment. What a magnificent performance, the icing on the cake of an amazing few hours.
It was a golden night like no other and hopefully a generation has been inspired. Sweet dreams are made of this…
4th August 2012