Anything you can do: El Guerrouj gets in on act

In his apartment high in the Atlas Mountains, Hicham El Guerrouj has a fading film reel of Paavo Nurmi racing to victory in the 1500m and 5,000m in the Paris Olympics of 1924. After his latest home straight heroics in the Olympic Stadium last night, he now has video footage of his own golden double to place alongside that of the greatest of all the flying Finns.

In his apartment high in the Atlas Mountains, Hicham El Guerrouj has a fading film reel of Paavo Nurmi racing to victory in the 1500m and 5,000m in the Paris Olympics of 1924. After his latest home straight heroics in the Olympic Stadium last night, he now has video footage of his own golden double to place alongside that of the greatest of all the flying Finns.

In the race of the champions on the track in the 2004 Games, it was the Moroccan king of the middle distances who prevailed against the long-distance prince from Ethiopia. Meeting on middle ground in the 5,000m final, El Guerrouj, winner of the Olympic 1500m final last Tuesday night, produced a winning kick off the final bend to beat Kenenisa Bekele, the winner of the 10,000m final eight days previously.

For the record, El Guerrouj clocked 13min 14.39sec, Bekele 13:14.59 and the Kenyan world champion Eliud Kipchoge 13:15.10 in third place. It was all about the race, though. And that was worthy of such supreme champions. "This is an historic victory," El Guerrouj said. "I want to dedicate it to the Moroccan people and the Arab and Muslim world."

In the space of four days, the 29-year-old has succeeded in applying the crowning glory to a career in which he has rewritten the world-record books at 1500m, the mile and 2,000m. After falling at the bell in the 1996 final in Atlanta and losing a dramatic sprint finish with the Kenyan Noah Ngeny in 2000 final in Sydney, he finally claimed his personal holy grail, the Olympic 1500m title, after an even more gripping battle with Bernard Lagat, another Kenyan, last Tuesday night.

Elsewhere, on the track and in the field on the concluding night of competition in the Olympic Stadium, after four years of flattering to deceive and failing to fulfil his rich promise, Yuri Borzakovskiy finally came good in the last 100m of the men's 800m final. The 23-year-old Russian surged to the front on the outside, winning in 1min 44.45sec ahead of Mbulaeni Mulaudzi and Wilson Kipketer.

Sadly, there was to be no golden farewell for Steve Backley in the javelin - or silver or bronze farewell either. At 35, the Kent man bowed out heroically, though, taking fourth place with 48.13m - just 0.71m shy of what would have been a fourth successive Olympic medal.

The British 4 x 400m relay men came close to the podium, too. Matt Elias was in bronze medal position on the final leg until Clinton Hill of Australia and Enefiok Udo Obong of Nigeria overtook the tiring Welshman in the last few desperate strides to the line. Nevertheless, fifth place in a race won comfortably by the United States was a highly creditable performance by Elias, the inspired Malachi Davis, Sean Baldock and Tim Benjamin.

The British women's 4 x 400m team were never seriously in the hunt for a medal in their final, but Donna Fraser, Catherine Murphy, Christine Ohuruogu and Lee McConnell also performed with distinction, taking fourth place behind the United States, Russia and Jamaica.

News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
News
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003