Usain Bolt tonight secured the legendary status he craved by becoming the first man to win the Olympic sprint double twice in succession on an historic night in London.
While millions would already consider Bolt a legend for winning triple gold in Beijing and defending his 100 metres title here on Sunday, the Jamaican insisted he also had to retain his 200m title to achieve such status.
And the 25-year-old did precisely that with another imperious performance, leading a Jamaican clean sweep ahead of 100m silver medallist Yohan Blake and Warren Weir, both of whom are just 22.
Bolt's winning time of 19.32 seconds was outside his own world record of 19.19s which he felt might be a possibility, but the 80,000 crowd had already witnessed one such feat as Kenya's David Rudisha stormed to 800m gold in 1:40.91, taking 0.10s off his own record.
Bolt had lost to Blake over 100 and 200m at the Jamaican trials - and later underwent treatment on a stiff back which was causing hamstring problems - but gained sweet revenge over both distances in London, even having the time to raise a finger to his lips as he crossed the line tonight.
That was jokingly directed at training partner Blake, who had been talking up his chances in Bolt's favourite event, and the winner said: "This is what I wanted and I got it. We've been working hard all season. We pushed ourselves, we pushed each other and we're happy."
Asked about lowering the world record he set when winning the world title in Berlin in 2009, Bolt added: "I think it was possible...but I guess I wasn't fit enough. I was fast but I wasn't fit enough.
"I came off the corner, I could feel the strain on my back a little bit so I was trying to keep my form, but I stopped running because I knew it wasn't going to be a world record. When I came off the corner I could feel it.
"It was hard. I really dedicated [myself] to my work, I know what London meant to me. I came here and I gave it my all and I'm proud of myself. I didn't get a world record - I really wanted to do it in the 200m - but I'm happy."
Blake, who will team up with Bolt in the 4x100m relay, said: "Usain Bolt has been motivating me all season. Everything has been going good so far."
And the virtually unknown Weir added: "It's a great honour to come here and do what the country wanted, to get the top three."
Wallace Spearmon had to settle for fourth in a season's best of 19.90s, but there was success elsewhere for the United States as Christian Taylor added the Olympic title to his world triple jump crown and Ashton Eaton claimed decathlon gold.
Taylor had been in danger of bowing out of the competition after fouls in the first two rounds, but earned himself three extra jumps with a leap of 17.15m in the third round.
And the 22-year-old made the most of that reprieve by soaring out to 17.81m in the next round to finish 19 centimetres ahead of team-mate Will Claye (17.62m), with Italy's Fabrizio Donato taking bronze with 17.48m.
"I'm so honoured," Taylor said. "It's such a blessing to share this moment with my family. I played this like another meet but the energy that 80,000 people bring is just phenomenal."
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening came when there was a false start in the last event of the decathlon, but that did not stop world record holder Eaton from sealing victory.
Eaton took a 151-point lead over compatriot Trey Hardee into the 1,500m and finished ahead of the two-time world champion to end up 198 points clear after two gruelling days of competition.
Eaton's score of 8,869 was 24 short of the Olympic record, with Hardee recording a season's best of 8,671 and Cuba's Leonel Suarez also managing a season's best of 8,523 to claim bronze.
The final gold medal of the evening went to Czech Barbora Spotakova, who successfully defended her javelin title with a throw of 69.55m.
Each of the 31-year-old's first four throws were over 66 metres and would have been good enough for victory, with Germany's Christina Obergfoll taking silver with 65.16m.
Germany's Linda Stahl claimed bronze with a season's best of 64.91m in the fourth round.