It was an historic moment for Kenya. When Sammy Wanjiru breasted the blue and white tape at the finish line in the Beijing Bird's Nest in August 2008, he made the sign of the cross and dropped to his knees in supplication. Kenya's prayers had been answered.
The great East African powerhouse of the distance-running game finally had an Olympic marathon champion to acclaim.
Just how giant a figure Wanjiru could have been we shall never know. He jumped to his death from a first-floor balcony of his luxury home in Nyahururu, 94 miles north-west of Nairobi, in May last year.
Inevitably, the 2012 Olympic men's marathon in central London tomorrow will have a mournful feel about it. It will also have a Kenyan trio seeking to pay golden tribute to their late compatriot.
There has never been a clean sweep of the medals in the event but Wilson Kipsang – winner of this year's London Marathon in 2:04:44 – Abel Kirui and Emmanuel Mutai are capable of achieving one for Kenya and for the memory of Wanjiru.
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