Reuters: Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda broke away from two Kenyan rivals to win the men’s marathon near Buckingham Palace on Sunday in front of vast crowds enjoying the climax to 16 days of Olympic competition and drama.
After running side by side for miles with world champion Abel Kirui and Wilson Kipsang, the 23-year-old put in a powerful kick to shake off the Kenyans and crossed the finish lane draped in the Ugandan national flag, which he knelt to kiss.
The dense throngs that lined the route through central London on a sweltering day were a sign of the huge enthusiasm the Games have generated in a host country where many had been sceptical about the cost and potential disruption.
Britain’s best medal haul for a century, the record-breaking exploits of swimmer Michael Phelps and the sprint pyrotechnics of Usain Bolt, who won his third London gold when Jamaica smashed the 4 x 100 metres world relay record on Saturday, have made for a memorable Olympics.
Starting the final day of competition on 44 gold medals, six ahead of China, the United States were already unassailable at the top of the overall table.
They were looking to add to their haul as their basketball “Dream Team” defended the title against a Spanish team looking for revenge for defeat in the final at Beijing four years ago.