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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the Jurassic World trailer
film

Video: The official full-length trailer for the Jurassic Park sequel has dropped – two days early

Environment
The plant ‘Nepenthes zygon’ was donated to Kew in 2004
environmentNepenthes zygon had been growing for almost a decade and helping to keep down cockroaches
News
This artist impression shows a modern-day Atlantis
news
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer snapped celebrities for 40 years - but it wasn’t all fun and games
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
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

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital