Published August 04, 2012
London, England – Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won her second straight gold medal in the women's 100-meters Saturday at the London Games, but the host nation of Great Britain wound up stealing the spotlight with three gold medals.
Jessica Ennis was expected to win heptathlon gold for the host nation after building a big lead heading into Saturday evening's final discipline, but Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford's Olympic titles on the men's side were nothing short of shocking.
Farah, a Somalian-born and British-raised distance runner, became the first non-African to win the men's 10,000 meters since Italy's Albert Cova claimed gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Farah was also the first British man to win the event.
Not to be outdone, Rutherford became the second man from Great Britain to win gold in the long jump and the first in 48 years. Lynn Davies won the other gold at the 1964 Tokyo Games.
Including three additional golds won Saturday in track cycling and rowing, Great Britain had its most successful day at the Olympics in over 100 years. The last time the nation won six gold medals on a single day was at the 1908 Summer Games, which also happened to be held in London.
"People say there's pressure being in a home Olympics, but I don't think there's pressure," said Farah. "They (the crowd) give you that lift, that buzz."
Meanwhile, the United States picked up two silvers and a bronze on the night, with Carmelita Jeter finishing just .03 seconds behind Fraser-Pryce in her first Olympic race. Galen Rupp also claimed silver behind Farah in the 10,000, becoming the first American man to medal at that distance since Billy Mills in 1964.
Will Claye added the bronze for the U.S. in the long jump.
The women's 100 was billed as a battle between American and Jamaican sprinters and it did not disappoint. In the end, Fraser-Pryce retained the title of "World's Fastest Woman" with a sprint of 10.75 seconds, while Jeter, last year's world champion, was just a step behind.
"It was a tough race, I gave it my all. I got a medal at the Olympics," said Jeter.
The next three finishers were also Jamaican or American with Veronica Campbell-Brown joining her countrywoman Fraser-Pryce on the podium. Americans Tianna Madison and Allyson Felix finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Fraser-Pryce is the only Jamaican woman to have ever won the 100 and she is the third from any nation to win the event twice, joining Americans Wyomia Tyus and Gail Devers. Meanwhile Campbell-Browm, a six-time Olympic medalist and two-time defending champion in the 200m, won her second bronze in the 100. She also finished third eight years ago in Athens.
The Jamaicans swept the 100 in Beijing, with Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart taking silver and bronze, respectively, behind Fraser-Pryce.
Felix has been the runner-up to Campbell-Brown in the 200 at the last two Olympics and the rivals are also expected to compete for gold in that event here in London.
While the 100 is always thrilling, the most shocking result of the night had to be the 10,000 meters, an event that quite simply has been owned by African nations in recent years. With Farah winning gold and Rupp placing second it marked the first time runners from African nations didn't occupy all three spots on the podium in the 10,000 since 1988.
The race stayed together for most of the 10,000 meters, but with a few laps to go Farah moved to the front. He began his kick with a little more than a lap remaining and held on for the victory, while Rupp surged for second. Farah completed the race in 27 minutes, 30.42 seconds and Rupp crossed the finish line .48 seconds later.
"These don't come around often. It's the best moment of my life, Farah said.
Adding to the incredible result is the fact that Farah and Rupp, both of whom are based in Oregon, are training partners. The friends embraced soon after crossing the finish line.
"I'm thrilled for Mo," Rupp said. "It's unreal. Two training partners coming in first and second, I couldn't be happier. I wouldn't be where I am today without him."
The history made by Farah and Rupp prevented Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele from becoming the first man to win the 10,000 three times. He entered London as the two-time defending champion, but finished fourth while his brother Tariku Bekele won bronze.
Rutherford added to the British theme by winning the long jump with a leap of 8.31 meters, beating Australia's Mitchell Watt by .15 meters. Claye took bronze with a jump of 8.12 meters.
Marquise Goodwin of the U.S. finished 10th.
Before Farah and Rutherford won their events, Ennis officially claimed gold for Britain in the heptathlon on Saturday, completing her dominating performance with a first-place finish in the 800 meters.
She held a 188-point lead over Austra Skujyte of Lithuania heading into the final race and left little doubt by taking the early lead in the 800 before gutting it out for the win. Ennis finished the race in 2:08.65 seconds, and just before crossing the finish line she raised her arms in celebration of the overall win.
"The crowd helped me and I can't believe I've done it," said Ennis.
Ennis' final point total of 6,955 is the third-highest in Olympic history, trailing Jackie Joyner-Kersee's marks from the 1988 and 1992 Summer Games. Tatyana Chernova of Russia was 327 points behind Ennis for silver, while Lyudmyla Yosypenko won bronze with 6,618 points.
Meanwhile, Skujyte, the silver medalist in this event eight years ago in Athens, finished eighth in the 800, nearly 22 seconds slower than Ennis. She wound up placing fourth in the overall competition.
American Hyleas Fountain, silver medalist in Beijing, was in 27th place after six events and was a DNF after failing to participate in the 800.
Gold was also awarded in women's discus to Sandra Perkovic of Croatia in the women's discus, with Perkovic beating Russia's Darya Pishchalnikova with a throw of 69.11 meters. Li Yanfeng won bronze with a toss of 67.22 meters, claiming China's first Olympic discus medal.
Stephanie Brown Trafton of the United States finished in eighth place. She won a surprise gold in Beijing, becoming the first American woman to win the event since 1932.
Semifinals for the men's 400m hurdles were also held and all three American runners -- Angelo Taylor, Kerron Clement and Michael Tinsley -- qualified for Monday's final.
Also on Saturday night, American women DeeDee Trotter, Sanya Richards-Ross and Francena McCorory earned spots in the 400m final, which will take place tomorrow night.