Trio star on golden night for British athletics

12 August 2012 / 13:17

It was a night which will go down as the greatest in British athletics, live forever in the memories of the 80,000 crowd lucky enough to witness it and elevate the trio in the Olympic Stadium who delivered it to hero status.

Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford swept to triple glory in the space of a barely-believable 45 minutes on August 4 as Britain won three gold medals in one athletics session for the first time in Olympic history.

Its tag as Super Saturday hardly did justice to the drama and excitement. Yet, just when it seemed things could not get any better, it came round again a week later.

And this time, somehow, it seemed even better, the noise from the crowd even greater, travelling round the stadium like a Mexican wave before reaching a crescendo as the flawless Farah added 5,000 metres gold to go with his 10,000m title he had won seven days earlier and seal his status as one of Great Britain's greatest ever athletes.

Even Usain Bolt paid tribute by performing his 'Mobot' celebration as he brought the Jamaican team home to a world record in the 4x100m relay, the ultimate mark of respect from one legend to another.

For Farah, who dedicated his golden double to his unborn twin daughters, it justified the sacrifices he has made, relocating his wife and young daughter halfway round the world to dedicate himself to training in Portland, Oregon.

It had all started the Saturday before, though. Poster girl Ennis was the first to lead the gold medal charge, claiming a commanding victory in the heptathlon before Rutherford took the title in the long jump and, in a glorious finale, Farah rounded off an astonishing evening with 10,000m gold.

Ennis admitted she "couldn't believe I've done it", Farah described it as "the best moment of my life" and Rutherford hailed "the most amazing feeling in the world".

For Ennis it was the fulfilment of a dream four years in the making after she missed the Beijing Games through injury and the release of month upon month of mounting pressure as the face of London 2012, her image plastered on billboards the length and breadth of the country.

And she did it in the most emphatic of styles, from a stunning 100m hurdles run on the first morning, when she broke the British record, to the 800m, which doubled almost as two victory laps such was her hold on the gold already.

Each of the three athletes were roared on by the capacity crowd.

And it was the same for every Briton, be they gold medal favourites or rank outsiders, the atmosphere generated inside the stadium one of the undoubted highlights.

It was packed to the rafters for every minute of action, even during morning sessions when the programme would sometimes have struggled to excite even the most die-hard athletics fan.

Teenage heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson summed it up beautifully, mouthing 'wow' at the strength of her overwhelming reception when she was first introduced to the crowd.

"It was surreal," she said afterwards. "I didn't realise I had done it."

There were other notable successes on the track too, Christine Ohuruogu surrendering her 400m crown to American Sanya Richards-Ross, but still taking silver to make fools of the critics who had written her off after a succession of injuries.

Robbie Grabarz won a share of high jump bronze to complete a remarkable rise, having finished last year ranked 28th in the world and with his lottery funding taken away.

But it is that one glorious night in east London, and especially Farah's magnificent, historic double, that will be remembered as three home favourites became heroes.