The Sporting Moment of the Year: Saturday gets Super
Team GB athletes turn a former patch of east London wasteland into hallowed ground.
Athletics is simple – who can run fastest, jump highest, throw furthest? But rarely in British sporting history has it looked that way. In Beijing four years ago, there was a solitary gold medal for Team GB on the track, won by Christine Ohuruogu, and a grand total of four medals altogether. A repeat performance in the showpiece event of a home Olympic Games did not even bear thinking about.
So when Jess Ennis lined up for the 800m, the final event of a heptathlon she had dominated, on day eight of London 2012, there was no sense of complacency – either from a nervy-looking Ennis or the 80,000 anxious spectators packed into the Olympic Stadium. But then weird things started to happen.
First, Ennis ran a superb 800m to cross the line ahead of her rivals and fulfil her role as the golden girl of Team GB. Then, with Mo Farah some two laps into his bid for 10,000m gold, Greg Rutherford earned Britain its first Olympic gold in the long jump since 1964. Things were getting odder by the minute in east London.
Farah, meanwhile, was still at war. With five laps of the race to go, he made his opening move, easing into third. Another surge with 800m remaining saw Farah into second, from where he kicked again at the final bell, bursting into the lead to become the first Briton ever to win the Olympic 10,000m title.
In the space of a single, surreal hour, Team GB had three gold medals – two of them won by the people we have chosen as our athletes of the year. Which brings us on to the Jess & Mo show...