Day 9: Day that began with a bang – and ended with an explosion at the Olympic Stadium
Murray, Ainslie and Ohuruogu lead charge for Britain as Bolt brings house down with second-fastest 100m in history
A dramatic weekend at London 2012 came to a conclusion with Usain Bolt reaffirming his status as fastest man in the world. The Jamaican sprinter lived up to the billing, claiming gold in the 100m final, in 9.63 seconds. The speed broke his own Olympic record set when he won his first 100m gold at the 2008 Beijing Games – but fell short of his own world record of 9.59 seconds.
Elsewhere in truly momentous two days for British sport, the GB juggernaut rolled on. From Weymouth to Wimbledon, there was no shortage of ecstasy, but a little bit of agony too.
On the Nothe at Dorset, Ben Ainslie became the most successful sailor in Olympic history, winning a fourth gold in four successive Games, and on Wimbledon's Centre Court, Andy Murray received the very next big thing to a Grand Slam, an Olympic gold medal, and a silver one as well.
Murray demolished Roger Federer, the man who had reduced him to tears on the same court four weeks ago, with a sensational performance in three short sets. Crazy scheduling meant he went out to play in the mixed doubles final straight after, with only a 30-minute break. He and Laura Robson won the first set with ease, but in the end lost out in a third set tie-break to the top seeds, from Belarus, Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka.
"This is No 1 for me, the biggest win of my life," said the 25-year-old Scotsman, of his singles victory. "This week's been incredible. The support's been amazing.
"I've had a lot of tough losses in my career. This was the best way to come back from the Wimbledon final. I'll never forget it."
Ben Ainslie, long considered among Great Britain's biggest certainties for gold, didn't go about it the easy way, but swept to victory when it mattered in the final Finn class race off Weymouth. The 35-year-old sailor managed to stop his arch rival, the Dane, Jonas Hogh-Christensen, from beating him to the finish line. It was Ainslie's fourth gold medal, added to a silver he won as a teen. "I'm just relieved to have got through today," he said after the race as thousands of spectators cheered for him from the Nothe overlooking Weymouth. "I've never had such a nerve-racking race in my life."
In the Olympic Stadium, Britain's reigning 400m Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu took silver in a photo finish, to the American Sanya Richards Ross. Ohuruogu was not even close to being in contention until she entered the final straight and was seemingly willed forward by the roaring crowd. Had the race been 405m, it would have been hers.
Hull bantamweight boxer Luke Campbell also guaranteed himself at least a bronze medal after defeating Detelin Dalakliev in the quarter-finals.
In Weymouth too, the joy was tempered by Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson's failure to retain their gold from Beijing in the Star class. Instead the pair won silver after a last-minute burst from the Swedes won the race and pushed them into second.
In the velodrome, Team GB's Ed Clancy took bronze in the omnium event, which combines six cycling disciplines over two days. Victoria Pendleton, already cycling's golden girl, broke the world record in the women's sprint several times in the qualifying rounds. She will race for gold today.
But pommel horse gymnast Louis Smith, whose dazzling performance in the qualifiers last week overwhelmed everyone in the North Greenwich Arena including himself, came as close to winning a gold medal as it is possible to be.
Smith thrilled a sell-out crowd with a breathtaking routine that the judges awarded 16.066, matching the score of Hungary's double world champion Krisztian Berki. But Smith missed out on gold because his execution score of 9.066 was fractionally lower than his rival's. It would have been Britain's first gymnastic gold.
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