British distance runner Mo Farah recovered from a dramatic fall to defend his 10,000m title on Saturday as Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson ended the Olympic reign of compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce to claim 100m gold.
The 33-year-old Briton brought the Olympic Stadium crowd roaring to its feet after conjuring a trademark surge down the home straight to win in 27min 5.17sec.
Kenyan Paul Tanui won silver in 27:05.64 with Ethiopian Tamirat Tola third in 27:06.26.
But it was Farah’s heroic recovery that was the only talking point of a display that was every bit as memorable as his win in London four years ago.
Farah, aiming to become only the second man since legendary Finn Lasse Viren in 1972 and 1976 to complete a 5000m-10,000m double, was left stunned after being sent crashing to the track by training partner Galen Rupp on the 10th lap.
But he brilliantly recovered to get back in the race, hunting down the leaders and powering to gold.
– ‘Don’t panic’ –
Farah later told reporters he had thought of a promise made to his daughter as he tumbled over.
“I was thinking ‘Don’t panic, don’t panic, don’t panic,'” Farah said. “Mentally I was thinking ‘Is the race done?’ And I said to myself ‘No, no.’
“I’d promised my daughter I was going to bring home a medal and I couldn’t let her down,” he said.
“I wasn’t going to let it go. I thought about my family. It made me emotional.”
The victory cements Farah’s place as the dominant distance runner of his generation.
It was his eighth successive win in the 5,000 or 10,000m at a world championships or Olympics since 2011.
As Farah extended his Olympic reign however, another one drew to a close with Jamaica’s Fraser-Pryce downed by training partner Thompson in the blue riband 100m final.
Fraser-Pryce had been aiming to become the first woman in history to win three consecutive Olympic golds in the same event after her wins in 2008 and 2012.
But she was left trailing in the wake of Thompson, who surged into the lead after exploding from the blocks to win in 10.71sec.
Tori Bowie of the United States took silver with 10.83sec while Fraser-Pryce claimed bronze in 10.86.
– ‘Proud of Jamaica’ –
“When I crossed the line and glanced across to see I was clear (I) didn’t quite know how to celebrate,” said a jubilant Thompson after sharing an embrace with Fraser-Pryce.
“There is a big screen back home in my community in Jamaica. I can’t imagine what is happening there right now.”
Fraser-Pryce, wearing her hair dyed in Jamaica’s national colours, congratulated her young partner on her win.
“What I’m most happy about is that the 100m title is staying in Jamaica,” said Fraser-Pryce. “I’m on the podium with my training partner. I’m proud of Jamaica — just look at my hair.”
A thrilling night was rounded out with a nerve-jangling finish in the heptathlon, where Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam took gold by a slender 35 points from Britain’s defending champion Jessica Ennis-Hill.
Thiam, 21, went into the final event, the 800m, with a narrow 142-point lead over the Briton, knowing that if she finished within nine seconds of her rival gold would be hers.
The Belgian did just that, finishing at 7.47sec to amass a total of 6,810 points, with Canada’s Brianne Thiesen-Eaton claiming bronze (6,653).
“It’s crazy!” said Thiam. “I wasn’t expecting that – maybe top eight, but not the gold,” she said.
In men’s field events Saturday, American Jeff Henderson soared to an emotional gold in the long jump.
Henderson won with a best of 8.38m, finishing 1cm ahead of South African Luvo Manyonga, with defending champion Greg Rutherford of Britain taking bronze (8.29).
Henderson dedicated the win to his Alzheimer’s-stricken mother, who no longer recognises him.
“My mum can’t be here, she has Alzheimer’s. When I place that medal in her hands, I’ll be crying,” Henderson, 27, said.
In the men’s discus, Germany’s Christoph Harting won gold a day after his elder brother, defending champion Robert, was ruled out with an injury in the preliminary round. – Agence France-Presse