On a day that featured another blazing performance by Usain Bolt, it was Kenya's David Rudisha who became the first track and field competitor to set a world record during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. More than that, Rudisha turned in one of the greatest races in Olympics history, setting the world record in the men's 800 meters with a time of 1 minute, 40.91 seconds.
Rudisha was perhaps the biggest lock for a gold medal on the track, and yet he still wowed the spectators with his race. He burst out to an early lead in the first 200 meters and then, in dominating fashion, extended his lead as each 200-meter mark passed. Unlike Bolt, who often puts it into cruise control when it becomes clear he'll win, Rudisha took the track determined to break his own record -- something he told his fellow competitors, including teammate Timothy Kitum:
Kitum, who finished more than 1 1/2 seconds behind his fellow Kenyan, said Rudisha had warned other runners to be prepared for something special.
"Yes, he's the greatest runner," Kitum said. "He told me he's going to run a world record today. He's the best."
After the race, Rudisha talked about being the undercard to Bolt, the sport's biggest star, who was set to defend his gold in the 200m on the same day:
"I know people love Bolt," Rudisha said, when asked about being overshadowed by the sport's biggest star. "I'm happy for him, and I'm happy for me."
"It's something special to break the world record at the Olympics," Rudisha said.
Rudisha has owned the 800m over the past three years, but that didn't stop the superlatives from rolling in from the amazed. London 2012 organizing chief Sebastian Coe called the world-record race "one of the greatest Olympic victories."
Finishing a distant second and taking the silver was Nigel Amos of Botswana, who crossed in 1:41:73. Rudisha's countryman, Kitum, captured bronze in 1:42:53.
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