OLYMPICS LONDON 2012: Gold trio should be legends of sport
By James Toney, Sportsbeat, at the Olympic Stadium
THESE really are days of wonder, endless days and sacred days, days we'll certainly remember all our life.
WINNER AND HERO: Great Britain's Mo Farah, one of the three athletic golds in one night should act as an inspiration to younger people
In the space of just one unforgettable hour, British athletes - maligned just four years ago in Beijing - delivered not one, not two but three golds.
Midas came to Stratford and no-one was moaning about the queue for the train home.
Jessica Ennis delivered under the crushing weight of national expectation - she not only won gold but smashed her own national record.
Greg Rutherford produced what he's been promising for some time - unleashing 'the big one' when it mattered, his winning leap of 8.31 metres just four centimetres shy of his national record.
And Mo Farah, well he saved the best to last with a performance that defied any superlative to win the 10,000m title.
He crossed the line after 25 laps of gruelling effort with wide disbelieving eyes.
And he wasn't alone 80,000 in here and millions watching on television were wondering just when they were going to wake up and realise that Paris actually had won the 2012 Games.
This is how you inspire a generation, this how you persuade a nation's youth to choose sport, to be active, to aspire and to dream.
Sensational is a word too often used by sports reporters, it rolls off the fingers and onto the page like legend and epic.
But this was a night when all three seemed a little, well, just a little understated.
All the winners struggled to say anything too meaningful and all three admitted one of their overwhelming emotions was one of relief after looking to this day for so long.
"It's just a big relief," said Ennis.
"I came in with all the pressure on me, people telling me I was going to win the gold and be an Olympic champion.
"It's been hard and I just can believe that I've done it."
Farah hailed the moment as the best of his life - though his wife Tania will soon give birth to twins.
"I've never experienced something like this," he said.
"It doesn't come around often and to have it right on your doorstep and the amount of people supporting you and shouting your name - it's never going to be better than this."
No British athlete has ever won the 10,000m title - Mike McLeod and Liz McColgan won silver in 1984 and 1988 - and Farah still has the 5,000m, in which he is reigning world champion, to come.
And perhaps Ennis isn't finished either - her 100m hurdles time of 12.54 seconds ranks her joint third in the world this year, although she's yet to decide whether to chance her arm in another event.
All golds are equal in the eyes of the medal table - and those who win them are all deserving of our adulation.
But athletics golds are harder to win than any other.
British athletes topped podiums across the Olympics on what was dubbed Super Saturday, tasting success at the velodrome and the rowing lake of Eton Dorney.
But track and field is the true test of Olympic sport, as in Beijing, 41 different nations won athletics medals compared to 20 for rowing and cycling.
Every nation in the world is represented here at the Olympic Stadium, every continent will toast a medallist and the same cannot be said of any other sport at the Games.
And that alone secures this trio their place in the pantheon of sporting legend.
Ennis, Rutherford and Farah - in order of success - became the the first British track and field athletes to win an Olympic gold since the 25th July 1908.
Those 104 years of hurt ended and in some style.
© Sportsbeat 2012