The rain poured down on Gateshead International Stadium yesterday, but there have been post-Olympic parades of a more dampened nature for British athletics teams. Back in 1976, there was just the one British medal winner to present to the capacity 15,000 crowd at the International Athletes' Club Coca Cola Invitation at Meadowbank Stadium in Edinburgh. Brendan Foster, third behind Lasse Viren and Carlos Lopes in the 10,000m in Montreal two weeks previously, won the two-mile race.
Yesterday, at least there were four British medal winners from Beijing for the soaking spectators to acclaim at the Aviva British Grand Prix. One of them, of course, had been a gold medal winner on the "Bird's Nest" track – and in the final event on the programme, the women's 400m, Christine Ohuruogu produced another winning run.
Hitting the front of the eight-woman field as she entered the home straight, the 24-year-old Londoner surged to a clear victory in 51.27sec, with Mary Wineberg of the United States taking second place in 51.44. "It means so much to me that so many people stayed behind in the rain to watch me," Ohuruogu reflected. "It was tough to come out here and perform, but I'm glad that I did. I wanted to say thanks to the people who have supported me."
Unbeaten in the 400m this year, Britain's lone Olympic track and field champion drops down to 200m for her next race, at the Van Damme Memorial meeting in Brussels on Friday. She then moves on to Shanghai before finishing her season at the World Athletics Final in Stuttgart on 13 and 14 September, with a possible one-lap re-match with Sanya Richards, the US favourite she upset in Beijing.
There were six British winners in all yesterday, just one of them also a Beijing medallist. That was Germaine Mason. The Olympic high jump runner-up cleared 2.27m, beating Jesse Williams of the US by 3cm. Phillips Idowu, silver medallist in the triple jump, could only place fourth with 16.42m. Tasha Danvers, third in the 400m hurdles in the Bird's Nest, was third again in her event yesterday, finishing behind Melanie Walker, of Jamaica, and Anna Jesien, of Poland, in 55.61sec.
The other four domestic winners were Martyn Rooney, a clear victor in the 400m in 45.35sec; Lisa Dobriskey, fourth in the 1,500m in Beijing, who this time judged her effort to perfection, prevailing in 4min 09.68sec; Marilyn Okoro, who emerged triumphant from the 800m in 1min 59.48sec; and Goldie Sayers, fourth in the javelin in Beijing, who threw 61.22m.
Of the global stars in action, the indefatigable Kenenisa Bekele was his customary awesome self, winning the 3,000m in 7min 31.94sec, a stadium record. The performance of the day, though, came from Asafa Powell. He won the 100m in 9.87sec – a scorching run in aquatic conditions.Reuse content