David Rudisha sets world record to win gold at 800 metres

David Rudisha of Kenya won his first Olympic gold medal with the kind of world-record performance that has made him almost unbeatable the last three years.
David Rudisha celebrates his gold medal in world record time on Thursday night in London. (Anja Niedrenghaus/Associated Press)

On a night dominated by Usain Bolt, David Rudisha was determined to get a piece of the spotlight. The 23-year-old Kenyan ended up going one better.

He did what no one else, Bolt included, could: set a world record on the London Olympic track.

Rudisha had told his rivals in the 800 meters to be ready for a world record, and he delivered on his word, winning Thursday's final in 1 minute, 40.91 seconds, one-tenth of a second off the mark he set in 2010.

After crossing the finish, he flung up both arms to celebrate, then draped himself in a Kenyan flag and posed for photographs near the timing clock with "NEW WR" on it. He has been the dominant 800-meter runner for the last three years, setting the world record three times and losing just once since 2009. This, though, topped all that.

"It's something special to break the world record at the Olympics," Rudisha said.

Sebastian Coe, a middle-distance running great and head of the London organizing committee, wasn't in much doubt.

"That was simply an unbelievable performance," Coe said. "David Rudisha showed supreme physical and mental confidence to run like that in an Olympic final.

"Instead of just doing enough to win the race, he wanted to do something extraordinary and go for the world record as well. Rudisha's run will go down in history as one of the greatest Olympic victories."

Less than an hour later, Bolt won the 200 meters to clinch a repeat double in the Olympic sprints, backing up his 100-200 winning double in Beijing with another one in London.

Bolt, however, fell short of his own world record when he eased up in the final strides.

In the 800, 18-year-old Nigel Amos took silver in a world junior record time of 1:41.73 to give Botswana its first Olympic medal, and Timothy Kitum of Kenya got the bronze in 1:42.53.

Americans Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds finished fourth and fifth, just ahead of 18-year-old Mohamed Aman of Ethiopia, the world indoor champion who handed Rudisha his only loss in three years last September.

Kitum, who finished more than 1 1/2 seconds behind his Kenyan teammate, said Rudisha had predicted a record.

"Yes, he's the greatest runner," Kitum said. "He told me he's going to run a world record today. He's the best."

Men's triple jump

The United States a 1-2 finish when Christian Taylor won the triple jump gold medal, overhauling U.S. teammate Will Claye with his fourth jump in the final. Fabrizio Donato of Italy took bronze.

It left the United States atop the track and field medal standings, with seven gold and 24 overall, still on target to meet its goal of 30.

Women's javelin

Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic successfully defended her Olympic javelin title on Thursday night.

The 31-year-old Spotakova, who holds the world record, secured the gold medal with a best mark of 69.55 metres.

Germany collected silver and bronze, with Christina Obergfoell finishing second at 65.16 and Linda Stahl third at 64.91.

Obergfoell improved one spot on her finish four years ago, when her bronze was Germany's only track and field medal in Beijing.

Vancouver's Elizabeth Gleadle finished 12th.