London Olympics 2012

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Usain Bolt: The fastest man on the planet

ESPN staff
August 5, 2012

Every day of the Olympics, we at ESPN Towers will award gold, silver and bronze medals to the top three moments. Here are our choices for day nine...

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Medal Table

Gold

Why did we ever doubt Mr Usain Bolt? He said prior to the Games that he wanted to become a legend, and he has undoubtedly achieved his goal.

No man has ever crossed the line first in back-to-back Olympic 100m finals. Carl Lewis has won the event twice in a row, but only after Ben Johnson was disqualified. Bolt is the first to deliver the race-winning image twice.

His time, a sluggish 9.63s, was the second fastest ever. It was the quickest in Olympic history, and of course he already holds the world record.

How good were Bolt's rivals? Seven of the eight finalists ran sub-10 seconds. That's how good.

How good was Bolt's start? Pretty poor in truth. Which only begs the question: How fast would he have gone had he sprung from the blocks?

None of that matters for now. Bolt is the fastest man on planet, the most legendary sprinter in Olympic history, and he still has a couple more events to come.

Silver

If somebody had guaranteed on the morning of the men's singles gold medal match that Roger Federer v Andy Murray would be utterly one-sided... barely anybody would have tipped the Brit for victory.

Federer just does not get outclassed on grass, particularly on his favourite court: Centre Court at Wimbledon. Add to that the fact that he beat Murray on the same blades of green stuff just 28 days previously, and it was Murray who had it all to do.

While Federer had been resting after his semi-final, Murray had played two mixed doubles matches. If anyone should have been fresh, it should have been the 17-time grand slam winner.

But Murray had momentum, and boy did he make it work for him. Not at any stage in the match did Federer begin to get his teeth into Murray as the Brit won 6-2 6-1 6-4, dismissing the Swiss in under two hours. Olympic gold was his, something Federer has never achieved.

And just for good measure, Murray returned an hour later for the mixed doubles final, adding a silver to his collection. He and Laura Robson came within a whisker of winning too, but eventually lost the champions tiebreaker 10-8 to Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi.

Bronze

Arguably the most sentimental moment of the day's action, Kirani James won his 400m semi-final and then approached Oscar Pistorius in order to swap names. James cruised through his race and proved himself a major gold medal contender, but high on his list was to get a memento from South Africa's history-making double-amputee.

"He's very special to our sport," James said of Pistorius as he walked away with Blade Runners' name tag. Perhaps James should be allowed to talk to those who accuse Pistorius of "gaining an advantage".

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