LONDON — The hype for British athletes around the 2012 London Olympics sat squarely behind heptathlete Jess Ennis and long distance runner Mo Farah and, oh, did they deliver.
With a strong effort in the long jump and personal best javelin throw earlier in the day, Ennis concluded her epic victory with a win in the seventh and final event, the 800 meters.
Ennis concluded the competition with 6955 points, surpassing her own British national record of 6909 points set earlier this year. Ennis finished a whopping 306 points ahead of silver medalist Lilli Schwarzkopf of Germany.
Less than 15 minutes later, Farah toed the track for the final of the 10,000 meters. Although he won the 5000 meter world title in 2011, Farah narrowly lost the 10k title a year ago and desperately wanted to start his home Olympic Games on a golden note.
As the lead see-sawed between an army of East African runners employing national team tactics, Farah and his training partner Galen Rupp, both of whom are coached by former American marathon great Alberto Salazar, patiently sat in the pack until Farah struck with 450 meters remaining. Farah refused to give up the lead as he pulled away from his opponents over the final 200 meters to earn the gold while Rupp passed eventual bronze medalist Tariku Bekele with 50 meters to go in the silver medal position.
Rupp became the first American to medal in the 10,000 meters since Billy Mills won the gold medal at the 1964 Toyko Olympics.
In the midst of the madness of Ennis and Farah victories, there was the unheralded long jump gold medalist Greg Rutherford. Although Rutherford came into the night’s final with the world’s longest leap of 2012, he did not have the same levels of expectation on his back as Ennis and Farah did and flourished in that role, leaping 8.31 meters (27 feet, 1/4 inches) to defeat his opponents in a competition that saw an unusually low level of long jumps.
Saturday marked the first time three British athletes claimed track and field gold medals on the same day.
In non-British action, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica repeated as Olympic women’s 100 meter champion ahead of 2011 world champion Carmelita Jeter of the United States, 10.75 to 10.78 seconds. Jamaica added a second medal with Veronica Campbell-Brown in third place while Americans Tianna Madison in fourth and Allyson Felix in fifth missed out on podium positions.
Find full results from day two of Olympic track and field here.