Jamaica’s Usain Bolt sprinted into the pantheon of Olympic greats Thursday as he became the only man to ever retain the 100m and 200m titles, sealing his remarkable feat with typical nonchalance.
As he approached the line Bolt, finishing ahead of fellow Jamaicans Yohan Blake and Warren Weir, put his finger to his lips to hush the crowd as he eased up and crossed in 19.32sec.
Afterwards, Bolt dropped to the deck and did press-ups, grabbed a camera and took pictures of Blake, and hugged fans, celebrating an achievement which puts him ahead of greats such as Carl Lewis and Jesse Owens.
“This is the one I wanted and I got it. I’m now a legend, I’m also the greatest athlete to live,” Bolt 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.”
Despite a troubled build-up, Bolt won the 100m with ease on Sunday and he will now also be favorite to retain his third title in the 4x100m relay.
The only thing missing for Bolt was a new world record, something Kenya’s David Rudisha managed in the 800m final earlier.
The 23-year-old world champion was five meters clear of Nijel Amos of Botswana after taking control of the race from an early stage, and he charged down the home straight to clock a stunning new mark of 1min 40.91sec
It was the first world record in an 800 meters Olympic final since Cuba’s Alberto Juantorena set the mark in the 1976 final.
“To come here and break the world record is something unbelievable,” said Rudisha.
In other results, world champion Christian Taylor won the men’s triple jump, and his fellow American Ashton Eaton won the decathlon.
And the United States downed Japan 2-1 to win the women’s football gold, courtesy of a double-strike from Carli Lloyd.
Earlier, Britain’s Nicola Adams also entered the history books as the first ever women’s Olympic boxing champion.
In front of raucous crowds at east London’s ExCeL venue, flyweight Adams upset Chinese world champion Ren Cancan 16-7 to become the first on the podium in the Olympics’ inaugural women’s boxing competition.
“It is a dream come true. I am so happy and overwhelmed with joy right now. I have wanted this all my life and I have done it,” said Adams, who threw mock punches at the stands in celebration.
The packed venue shook to a burst of “Fields of Athenry” by Irish fans as multiple world champion Katie Taylor sealed the lightweight title with a narrow 10-8 win over Russia’s Sofya Ochigava.
And teenager Claressa Shields restored some pride to American boxing when she won the middleweight final against Russia’s Nadezda Torlopova.
None of the US men’s boxers won a medal in London, in what was their worst ever Olympics. At 17 years and 145 days, Shields is the youngest Olympic boxing champion since compatriot John Fields won in 1924 aged 16.
Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin won equestrianism’s individual dressage with a routine set to “Live And Let Die”, “The Great Escape”, and the chimes of Big Ben, the hosts’ third gold medal at a packed Greenwich Park.
Hungary’s Eva Risztov edged the marathon swim by just 0.4 seconds from America’s Haley Anderson, after a 10km race at Hyde Park’s Serpentine lake described as “pretty violent” by fourth-placed Briton Keri-Anne Payne.
Back on the track Oscar Pistorius, the first double amputee to take part in the Olympics, had a scare when South Africa team-mate Ofentse Mogawane crashed out of the 4x400m relay heats, apparently ending his medal hopes.
But Kenya were disqualified over Mogawane’s fall and South Africa were reinstated to the final on appeal, keeping Pistorius’s campaign alive.
The first medals of the day were settled on the canoe-kayak sprint course at Eton Dorney Lake, with Germany bagging two golds while Australia and Hungary snaffled one apiece.
Separately, Africa Village, a hospitality venue intended as the continent’s shop window during the Games, was closed permanently due to unpaid debts.