by Paul Giblin
LONDON, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- When people look back on the athletics at the London Olympic Games four names will come to the fore: Usain Bolt, Mo Farah, Allyson Felix and David Rudisha, however they were just four of the many who contributed to a memorable athletics competition.
Every event was played out in front of a full house and with an audience loving every moment and willing to lend their voices to cheer on every competitor, great events were virtually assured.
Bolt again captured the headlines, due partly to his larger than life personality, but above all thanks to another exhibition of sprinting prowess that captured the imagination of the world. Looking back, it is hard to credit that he arrived at London with a question mark over him following rumors of below par training and a defeat to Yohan Blake in the Jamaican trials.
It took him exactly 9.63 seconds to blow those doubts out of the water as he sprinted to victory in the 100 meters before performing his trademark celebration and set the stage for a historic sprint double that would come 5 days later when he won the 200 meters to become the first sprinter to claim gold at both 100 and 200 meters in successive Olympiads.
He made it three out of three as Jamaica closed the Olympic Stadium in fitting style on Saturday night, smashing their own 4X100 meter world record and running under 37 seconds for the first time in history.
That win allowed his fellow countryman, Yohan Blake to claim a well -deserved gold after he had taken silver in the previous sprints. If Bolt is tempted away from the rigors of athletics, Blake is the man to take up the mantle.
Felix also deserves her name in the headlines, showing her sheer versatility as a runner and her perseverance as she claimed gold in the women's 200 meters at her third attempt and them forming part of the triumphant US 4X400 and 4X100 squads. A sprinter to run across the board, Felix also saw how the US women also set a new world record in the 4X100 relay.
People spoke of the track in the Olympic Stadium as a fast track and it produced three new world records: the two sprint relays and Rudisha's stunning performance in the 800 meters.
The Kenyan decided to run fast from the start and blew away the field to run under 1.41 for the first time in history.
Sebastian Coe, the Chairman of the London Olympic Games Organizing Committee, said it was the performance of the Games and it may well have been.
Meanwhile the run of Kenyan teenager James Kirani in the men's 400 hurdles was also a moment of greatness and all the more so as it was produced by someone so young. The 400 meters also saw history when South Africa's Oscar Pistorius qualified for the semi-final, a magnificent achievement for the runner with prosthetic legs.
The fourth athletics record came in the women's 20km walk and was set by Russia's Elena Lashmanova.
The walking events saw the Chinese athletes produce their best athletics displays of these Games with Chen Ding winning the men's 20km walk and set an Olympic record in a race Wang Zhen took bronze, while Qieyang Shenjie won a medal in the women's 20km walk and Li Yangfeng won bronze in the women's discus.
Unfortunately China's best track hope, Liu Xing literally fell at the first hurdle as the 2004 Olympic 110 champion suffered the misfortune of a torn Achilles tendon. His injury did at least allow for a display of the true Olympic spirit as he hopped bravely to the finish with the help of his fellow competitors.
The cool weather and blustery conditions on some evenings may have made life difficult in the field events, but they still produced drama such as Robert Hartings late effort in the hammer throw and Anna Chicherova's dominance in the women's high jump. Jennifer Suhr won the women's pole vault with Russian favorite Yelena Isinbayeva in bronze, while Nadzeya Ostapchuk was dominant in the women's shot put.
But for home fans at least, there are two moments they will never forget: the first Saturday in the athletics stadium saw Team GB win three gold medals in less than an hour as Jess Ennis lived up to her billing as favorite in the heptathlon in a display that saw her produce three personal bests in competition. Greg Rutherford then won the long jump, all be it with a jump that would on many other occasions have even won him bronze. But the main thing in the Olympics is to be better than your rivals.
That set the stage for Mo Farah to produce a stunning run in the 10,000 meters. Farah has an English father but was born in Somalia and hardly spoke English when he arrived in the country as an eight year-old refugee. His run in the 10,000 meters made him a national hero and when he repeated gold in the 5,000 a week later with the crowd cheering him around every inch of the track, he became a legend as well as a symbol of the spirit of generosity and inclusion that these London Olympics have come to represent.