Road To The Olympic Games

Allyson Felix wins 3rd gold medal, Britain's Farah nabs his 2nd

A week ago, Mo Farah won Great Britain's third gold medal on the track in less than an hour. On Saturday he completed an impressive long-distance sweep by winning the men's 5,000 metres event at London's Olympic Stadium.
Great Britain’s Mo Farah, front, captured the men’s 5,000 metres on Saturday to complete a long-distance sweep on Saturday at London’s Olympic Stadium. (David J. Phillips/Associated Press)

A week ago, Great Britain Mo Farah won Great Britain’s third gold medal on the track in less than an hour.

On Saturday he completed an impressive long-distance sweep.

In a frantic finish that saw him run the last lap in a remarkable 52 seconds, Farah captured a gold medal during the men’s 5,000 metres.

Britain Prime Minister David Cameron was among the thousands of fans cheering on their compatriot at the London Olympic Stadium.

Taking the lead with 700 metres to go, Farah staved off all challenges and, riding incessant howls of encouragement, swept away on the home straight. He threw his hands wide in victory, slapped his head and screamed out loud in amazement after he crossed the line.

Again, David Bowie's Heroes blared over the speakers, just like it did last Saturday when British athletes won three gold within one hour. Without a doubt, Farah made a great Olympics for Britain even more unforgettable.

"The crowd were amazing, they made an unbelievable noise," Farah said. "Two gold medals, who would have thought that?"

His competitors, too, felt the power of the home fans.

"The crowd helped him. He ran 100 per cent and they added another 10," said fourth-place finisher Bernard Lagat of the United States. "So you had a guy running at 110 per cent."

Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia threatened until 50 metres out but faded to take silver. Thomas Longosiwa of Kenya won bronze.

Black Creek, B.C., native Cameron Levins, admitting to feeling sick for the last several days, finished 14th in a 15-athlete field, crossing the line in 13:51.87.

U.S. 4 x 400 women romp

By the time Allyson Felix was done doing her part, her third gold medal of the Olympics was all but hanging around her neck.

Staking the U.S. team to more than a 2-second lead at the halfway point Saturday night, then watching Sanya Richards-Ross bring home the blowout victory, Felix added the 4x400-metre relay gold to those she had won earlier in the 4x100 relay and 200-meter sprint.

"By the time I got the stick," Richards-Ross said, "it was basically a victory lap."

The United States finished in 3 minutes, 16.87 seconds — good for a 3.36-second rout over Russia, the biggest margin in the final of the long relay at the Olympics since East Germany beat the U.S. by 3.58 seconds in 1976.

Jamaica took third in 3:20.95.

The U.S. extended its winning streak in this race to five straight, dating to 1996.

Felix became the first U.S. woman to win three golds in Olympic track since 1988, when Florence Griffith-Joyner won the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay in Seoul.

Felix's victories came half a world away, though she's now in the same stratosphere with some of the U.S. greats.

"London is very special to me," Felix said.

The gold Felix really wanted was in the 200-metre sprint that eluded her in Athens and Beijing. After that, everything else was gravy in Britain, though Felix was hardly going through the motions in her last race of the games.

Handed about a 10-metre lead by teammate DeeDee Trotter, Felix ran the second leg in 47.8 seconds — 1.8 seconds faster than Russia's Antonina Krivoshapka — to put a huge swath of track between her and the Russians before she handed off to Francena McCorory.

McCorory expanded the lead by another .49 seconds, then delivered it to Richards-Ross, who was basically running alone, loosely holding onto the baton as she breezed across the finish line.

"The ladies were phenomenal," Richards-Ross said. "They made it too easy for me."

It marked yet another success for a U.S. track team that had pegged 30 as the goal to reach at the London Olympics. After Felix and her teammates were finished, the men's 4x100 relay team and high jumper Brigetta Barrett both took silver to lift the U.S. team to 29.

The U.S. has won the 4x400 at every Olympics and world championship since 2007 and is undefeated at the Olympics since 1996.

World champion Savinova captures 800 gold

World champion Mariya Savinova of Russia won the Olympic 800-metre title, beating Caster Semenya of South Africa.

Russia also took the bronze with Ekaterina Poistogova.

Savinova finished the race in a season's-best 1 minute, 56.19 seconds, beating Semenya by 1.04 seconds. Poistogova clocked 1:57.53.

Semenya was last with 250 meters to go, but her strong finishing kick only carried her to silver while Savinova raced away to an easy victory.

Semenya made her Olympic debut three years after being forced to undergo gender tests.

Russian Kirdyapkin breaks Olympic record in 50k event

Sergei Kirdyapkin won the 50-kilometre walk at the London Games, breaking the Olympic record by more than a minute and giving Russia its first gold medal in the event in 20 years.

Kirdyapkin took a commanding lead at the 45-kilometer mark and crossed the finish line near Buckingham Palace in 3 hours, 35 minutes, 59 seconds, breaking the mark of 3:37:09 set by Alex Schwazer of Italy at the Beijing Games four years ago. 

Schwazer failed a doping test conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency before arriving in London and was excluded from the Olympics. The 27-year-old athlete, who admitted to using the blood-boosting hormone EPO, was removed from the Italian team Monday. He said he felt immense pressure to defend his title in London.

Kirdyapkin finished 54 seconds ahead of Jared Tallent of Australia, who took silver. Si Tianfeng of China took the bronze in the event along the streets of central London.

Kirdyapkin won the world championships in 2005 and 2009. He failed to finish at the 2008 Beijing Games.

"Compared with Beijing, today it all went perfectly well," Kirdyapkin said. "It's the Olympic gold medal, so for me it's the most important."

His wife, Anisya Kirdyapkina, competed in the 20k race on Saturday. She finished 85 seconds behind the winner and Russian teammate Yelena Lashmanova.

Russia last won the 50K walk at the 1992 Barcelona Games. With Schwazer out, the Russian walkers were the favorites to claim the gold.

Lashmanova wins gold in 20k walk

Yelena Lashmanova of Russia set a world record in the 20-kilometres race walk, overtaking defending champion Olga Kaniskina to win the gold medal at the London Olympics.

The 20-year-old Lashmanova trailed her Russian teammate for much of the race, but turned it on with the finish line in sight. She finished in 1 hour, 25 minutes, 2 seconds, seven seconds ahead of the three-time world champion.

"It's the highest achievement for me to get an Olympic medal and break the record, but I did not expect it," Lashmanova said. 

Qieyang Shenjie claimed bronze. She is the first Tibetan athlete China has ever fielded in the Olympics.

The 22-year-old Qieyang comes from a family of Tibetan herders and started running as a kid on the Tibetan plateau and then joined a sports school.

Lashmanova stepped up over the last 300 metre of the race to power past Kaniskina.

Walcott gives Trinidad and Tobago 1st Olympic title

Keshorn Walcott won the javelin gold medal to give Trinidad and Tobago its first Olympic title in a field event.

Walcott, the world junior champion, threw a national record 84.58 metres with his second attempt and nobody improved on the mark for the remainder of the final. 

Oleksandr Pyantnytsya of Ukraine was second with a throw of 84.51 and Antti Ruuskanen of Finland took third.

Two-time defending champion Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway finished sixth.

Russian takes women's high jump gold

 Anna Chicherova of Russia won the women's Olympic high jump gold medal.

Chicherova, who returned to competition and won the world title last year after taking the 2010 season off to have a baby, cleared 2.05 metres to win the title.

Brigetta Barrett of the United States won the silver with fewer misses than Svetlana Shkolina of Russia. Both cleared 2.03 metres.

Tia Hellebaut, the 2008 Olympic champion, placed fifth. World indoor champion Chaunte Lowe of the United States was sixth.

With files from CBCSports.ca