Kelly a legend twice over

Then relay boys pick up gold baton and stun the world

On a night of nights for beleaguered British track and field, Holmes produced her second stunning performance of the Games to add the 1500m gold medal to the 800m gold she had won on the same track last Monday night. Then, barely eighty minutes later, the unfancied, off-form British male sprinters stepped on to the track to deliver an emphatic riposte to all of their many critics.

In the upset of the track and field programme at these Athens Games, Jason Gardener, Darren Campbell, Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis summoned a golden two-fingered salute to Michael Johnson, Colin Jackson and the rest of the athletics fraternity who had written them off as a bunch of lame, malingering underachievers after the failure to get a single British speed merchant into the final of the 100m or 200m.

It was a wholly different story in the unforgettable final of the 4 x 100m relay last night. Devonish handed Lewis-Francis a one-metre lead going into the final leg and the 21-year-old West Midlander held on to the very last fraction of it, crossing the line just ahead of Maurice Greene, the anchor leg runner for the red-hot favourite United States quartet.

Greene, the former Olympic 100m champion and world-record holder, had predicted with characteristic modesty after the heats on Friday night that he and his colleagues would break the world record. Instead, the supermen of world sprinting were broken. The British quartet won by 0.01sec, in 38.07sec.

They won handsomely in other respects, holding hands as they ascended the top step of the rostrum to collect their gold medals and conducting themselves with the kind of humility that could hardly have afforded a greater contrast to the ugly preening, posing and posturing for which Greene and his victorious colleagues were subsequently forced to apologise in Sydney four years ago. "I am Olympic champion," Lewis-Francis said. "It is the greatest thing that has ever happened in my life. I can go home with my head held high."

Lewis-Francis, who turned down an Olympic place four years ago because he felt he was too young at 17, could certainly do that. And so could Holmes, who brought her Midas touch to bear with a vengeance in the women's 1500m final.

Judging her tactics to absolute perfection, the woman from Kent crossed the line in 3min 57.90sec, a British record, 0.22sec clear of the Russian Tatyana Tomashova. In doing so, at the age of 34, she became the first female British athlete to win a second Olympic gold. She also achieved an Olympic middle-distance double that proved beyond the great Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe, although Albert Hill won the men's 800m and 1500m for Britain at the 1920 Games in Antwerp.

Britain, with 29 medals, have now surpassed the number they won in Sydney, although they are still three golds behind on nine.

Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
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

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum