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Great Britain – we"re world beaters, Daley Thompson

Little Britain, great success: We might be small but we're world beaters

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UPDATED:

22:48 GMT, 13 August 2012

Sportsmail columnist Daley Thompson looks back on a truly tremendous fortnight of action.

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The world will go away impressed and with treasured memories that will last a lifetime. We are the biggest little country in the world and a little shy to say how great we are at times. My friend, former Australia cricket captain Steve Waugh, told me the facilities and atmosphere were the best he’s ever seen.

I don’t know what we can do to thank Sebastian Coe. He’s brought the country together and put a smile on everybody’s faces. He’s done an unbelievable job.

Hats off: Lord Sebastian Coe delivered a quite remarkable spectacle

Hats off: Lord Sebastian Coe delivered a quite remarkable spectacle

THE PROPER THANK YOUS…

The blazers will be putting in their orders for New Year honours about now, but we should save our heartfelt thanks for the people who really deserve it — the athletes, their coaches and their parents who have all spent many years preparing their charges for these Games. It’s the early dark mornings, training in the snow and rain, and the long car journeys to competitions in the middle of nowhere when nobody knows your name that build the belief and attitude which win you a place on the team. In Beijing there was no involvement from the local people. London has been a happier place and a more inclusive Games. The volunteers have been amazing and one of the best things that happened was G4S not being able to complete their job. It meant the armed forces came in and they were brilliant.

Heroes: Troops stepped in at late notice to become an integral part of the Games's success

Heroes: Troops stepped in at late notice to become an integral part of the Games's success

Three British moments I loved

Watching Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott win the canoe slalom. They had seven pairs going after them so it was really tense for about 25 minutes.

The 45 minutes in the Olympic Stadium on the first Saturday was magical. First Jess Ennis won gold, then Greg Rutherford and then Mo Farah. You can’t beat that.

Katherine Grainger winning after all the pain of those silvers at other Games. I was so happy for her.

THE GREAT DEBATE…

If you follow Sir Steve Redgrave’s theory, then there is a new greatest in town — Sir Chris Hoy. He has six gold medals so should therefore be considered the best Olympian we’ve had, overtaking Redgrave. The greatest is dead, long live the greatest. However, if you agree with my theory that such a title is impossible to give to one athlete, then we can all still enjoy endless hours of pub talk about who our favourites are and their merits. So welcome to my round table of greatness, Chris, where there is room for many.

MOAN No 1…

I don’t understand why the relay team failed again. They are fast enough and they should have won a medal. Our sprinters are rubbish on the world stage — an Olympic semi-final is the best they can hope for — but as a relay team we have a chance. It’s their only way on earth of winning a medal, so they should have been prioritising it ahead of the individual event, practising all the time. It’s delusional to think they can do anything on their own and a real shame.

Over the line: Great Britain's relay team should have won a medal

Over the line: Great Britain's relay team should have won a medal

BEST OF BRITISH…

I thought we’d do as well as we did and it’s great because we want and need British heroes. Now it’s important that the sports clubs across this country are ready for all the kids who are going to want to get involved. That’s what will ensure our success for the next 20 years. The Australians were brilliant from 2000 till about a year ago. They’ve become complacent. They haven’t continued to change. Look at the cycling. They did well in the World Championships and thought that would be enough. It wasn’t. Sport is so competitive that you always need to look to improve and we must do that if we want to keep being this successful.

Backward step: Australia won six cycling medals at the velodrome - one gold, two silver and three bronze

Backward step: Australia won six cycling medals at the velodrome – one gold, two silver and three bronze

And three non-British moments

My favourite of the whole Games was David Rudisha winning the 800 metres. The way he ran the race was unbelievable.

The 200m butterfly where Michael Phelps just got beaten in the final length by South Africa swimmer Chad le Clos was so exciting. Phelps could never lose that event — it was unthinkable.

The women’s volleyball final between Brazil and the USA was incredible, with some great rallies. I went to a pool match and the USA won so it was a surprise to see Brazil beat them.

THE BIG DIP…

Most of the athletics competitors will be out earning a living again in the next few weeks. But this will be the end of the year for some other sports. And a lot of competitors will go back to normal life and their jobs. It is tough for some people — most feel a bit flat after an Olympics because coming off that high and back to normality is difficult. I never found it a problem because I was so focused on training for the next event. The key is to go back to training only when you feel comfortable. In the meantime, just enjoy it, see your friends and family, and ride the wave. Then one day you’ll wake up and want to train again.

MY SPORT SHONE…

It was the best athletics meet ever. The performances to win events were staggering. Nobody would have thought that Andrew Osagie’s 1min 43.77sec would be good enough only for last place in the 800 metres. Mo Farah was unreal, too. Everyone thought he had a good chance of a medal but he surpassed that. Some people think that Usain Bolt was not as successful as he was in Beijing, because he wasn’t breaking as many records. But no-one has won those titles in consecutive Games like he has. He can continue if he wants — he’s a young man — but he might struggle to find the motivation because he could have better things to do. You have to really want it. Moving up to the 400m won’t happen either because it takes much more training.

Motivation: After two consecutive gold medal triple-hauls, where does Usain Bolt go from here

Motivation: After two consecutive gold medal triple-hauls, where does Usain Bolt go from here

MOAN No 2…

The Badminton World Federation’s decision to ban those players for trying to lose to secure an easier match after their round-robin was the worst thing at the Games. They had created that format, they knew what was going to happen. All the athletes were trying to do was improve their chances in a system they’d been given. It’s not that much different from a runner deliberately slowing down to save energy and finishing fourth when he knows the top four qualify from a race. The BWF created rules which made losing appealing — it should be a straight knockout in future.

He must stay: Charles van Commenee has done a splendid job

He must stay: Charles van Commenee has done a splendid job

DON’T GO, CHARLES…

Charles van Commenee hasn’t done a bad job. His problem is that he’s backed himself into a corner by saying he needed to deliver eight medals. But, of the six we did win in athletics, four of them were gold, which is the equivalent to 20 silvers, in my opinion. What else is he going to do He’s already the highest paid in that job in the world, so where else would he go

Interview by Alex Kay

London 2012 Olympics: Jacques Rogge tries to defuse Usain Bolt "legend" row

He's the best sprinter of all time! Rogge tries to defuse Bolt row over 'legend' status

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UPDATED:

11:05 GMT, 12 August 2012

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IOC president Jacques Rogge attempted to defuse a rumbling row with Usain Bolt by describing him as 'an active performance legend' and 'the best sprinter of all time'.

Rogge said earlier in the Olympics that Bolt had to do yet more to be regarded as 'a legend' – sparking an angry reaction from the sprinter, who after Saturday night's 4x100m triumph demanded the IOC leader should say what more he could do.

Rogge, who has previously criticised Bolt's showmanship, appeared to back-track on Sunday.

Legend: Usain Bolt believes he deserves the status

Legend: Usain Bolt believes he deserves the status

He told a news conference: 'It is a semantic question but you would say that Usain Bolt is an active performance legend, an icon and the best sprinter of all time.'

Rogge also proclaimed that the London 2012 Olympics has been 'a dream for sports lovers'.

He said that history had been made by many athletes and that Britain's record medal haul had been hugely important for the overall success of the Games.

He said: 'I am a very happy and grateful man – very happy with the Games and very grateful to LOCOG [the London Organising Committee].

'On July 6, London promised an athletes' Games and that's exactly what we got. History has been written by many, many athletes – the double treble of Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Sir Chris Hoy, Ben Ainslie, Andy Murray winning his first major title… I could go on.

'A magic moment was David Rudisha and his 800m, this was beauty in action.

'London was a dream for a sports lover, but I think it's very unfair to compare Games at different times and different circumstances and different countries.

'I have said since the awarding of the Games in Singapore that we need home gold medals and that is so important for the mood of the general public. We had to wait two days but then it accelerated, it has been fantastic

'We are saying exactly the same for our Brazilian friends for Rio.'

More to follow.

London 2012 Olympics: BOA want more golds at Rio Games

This is the start of the gold rush! BOA pledge to raise the bar at Rio Olympics

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UPDATED:

12:35 GMT, 12 August 2012

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The British Olympic Association have vowed Great Britain will do everything possible to top their amazing Olympic medal haul from London 2012 at the next Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Britain have had their best Olympics since 1908, winning at least 64 medals on home soil, including a minimum of 28 golds.

Australia are the only country ever to claim more gold medals at a Games immediately after one they have hosted – in 2004 – but no nation has ever secured more medals overall.

More of this: Mo Farah with one of his gold medals

More of this: Mo Farah with one of his gold medals

The BOA want to be the first and clearly believe today's announcement that there will be no Government cuts in the funding of Olympic sports ahead of 2016 could make it possible.

BOA chairman Lord Moynihan said: 'The aspiration is always to push on and do better – absolutely.

'If you're an athlete, if you're a team, your aspiration is always to do better. No question at all in my mind.

'You never say, “Okay, we did very well. Now let's fall back”.

'We have phenomenal athletes in this country, unbelievable athletes, and we're building great support structures.

'And we must always push on and always raise the bar and always seek to do better.'

Moynihan insisted it was far too early to set specific medal targets but added: 'Every sport should have a comprehensive review of their performance.

Solid gold: Greg Rutherford won a shock medal

Solid gold: Greg Rutherford won a shock medal

'Those who have done really well will
need to review why they did really well. Those who haven't lived up to
the expectations will need to review that.

'It won't be until we're very close to Rio that we have an assessment of who we're competing against, let alone how good our own team is.'

Britain have won medals in 15 sports at London 2012, four more than at the Beijing Games four years ago.

BOA chef de mission Andy Hunt said: 'I believe it could be more than that. And that's such an important legacy from these Games.

'Our insight and engagement with sports is like never before and we're not going to stop that.'

Future: Adam Gemili (left) could make waves in Rio

Future: Adam Gemili (left) could make waves in Rio

Sir Clive Woodward, who joined the BOA as director of elite performance in 2006 and became one of their deputy chefs de mission two years later, admitted the challenge now was to make competing away from home an 'advantage'.

Admitting the 'immense' crowd had made a huge difference to Britain's success in London, Woodward added: 'The interesting thing now is how can we make this an away advantage, how can we rethink all our thinking now to make sure that when we go to Rio now, can this be an advantage actually playing away from home.'

Woodward insisted he had 'every intention' of staying at the BOA in the run-up to 2016.

The man who led England to Rugby World Cup glory in 2003 was strongly linked with a return to the Rugby Football Union as elite performance director last year.

But he said: 'The longer I've been in this role, the more I've grown into it and enjoyed it. This has been a remarkable few weeks.

'I'm due to go to Rio at the end of September. We've already been there twice.

'It's just hugely challenging now because can we replicate what we've done here in terms of the support of the team and the athletes in Rio'

London 2012 Olympics: Tom Daley aiming for Rio peak

Bronze boy Daley aiming even higher with Rio Olympics in his sights

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UPDATED:

10:14 GMT, 12 August 2012

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Tom Daley has set his sights on Olympic glory in Rio de Janeiro after securing bronze in the 10 metre diving on Saturday night.

The 18-year-old led the field going into the final dive but was overtaken by eventual champion David Boudia of the USA and China's Qiu Bo.

But far from being disappointed, Daley was overjoyed by his achievement, which came after he failed to finish on the podium in the 10m synchro with Pete Waterfield.

Achievement: Tom Daley earned his bronze medal on Saturday night

Achievement: Tom Daley earned his bronze medal on Saturday night

'I'm over the moon with the way it all went,' he told Radio 5 Live. 'To finally have something to show for all the hard work, dedication and sacrifices I've had to make – it feels so good to have a medal right now.

'It was an amazing moment after all the things I've been through. All the hard work and all the things I've done… along with my dad. I wish he was there to see it but I know he'd be proud of what I've done.'

And Daley, who only qualified through the preliminary round in 15th place, believes his best is yet to come.

'Most people peak in diving at about 22, that's just in time for the Rio Olympics so that'll hopefully be my performance peak,' he said. 'I've got four more years, it's about building strength, building consistency and getting even better.'

Aims: The youngster wants to do even better in Rio

Aims: The youngster wants to do even better in Rio

Daley mid-dive

Daley dedicated his first Olympic medal to his late father Robert after a dramatic and controversial final.

While American David Boudia snatched
gold from the Qiu Bo, the swell of emotion inside the Aquatics Centre
centred on home-favourite Daley.

The 18-year-old had led going into the final dive, with Boudia and Qiu deadlocked just 0.15 points behind.

Daley managed a single score of 10 for his final back dive, but when Boudia and then Qiu both nailed more difficult leaps he was relegated to third.

The Plymouth diver hardly cared though as he jumped into the pool, with his team-mates and coaches, to celebrate a success overwhelming for his family tragedy.

Daley was at the bedside of his father at their family home in Plymouth last May when he lost his long battle with brain cancer aged 40.

Robert Daley had been a constant at poolside during his son's career and had pledged to battle the disease for long enough to see him compete in London.

Celebration: Daley and his coaches made a splash after the event

Celebration: Daley and his coaches made a splash after the event

'I dedicate this medal one for my dad,' he said.

'After losing my dad and all the tough times – it's about time my family had some good news.

'It's really tough not having him here, but I'm so happy for the fact that all the hard work we put in together, all the ups and downs, I know if he was here he'd be very proud.

'I wish he was here to be honest, but I know he's not. To make up for it all my family and friends are here.

'All the lessons in life he's taught me. It's been tough but I've come out the other side and have something to show for it.

'Although it's a bronze medal for me it's a gold medal.

'It's a symbol of all the effort I've had to put in. All the pressure that I've had on me going into this competition has been overwhelming to say the least.'

London 2012 Olympics: LIVE – final day including LeBron James

LIVE: Olympics – follow all the action on the final day as it happens

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UPDATED:

07:25 GMT, 12 August 2012

You can keep track of all the latest news, views and pictures from the Olympic Park and beyond with our live coverage. This is your ultimate guide to all the action as it unfolds during London 2012…

OLYMPICS ESSENTIALS

Sport-by-sport schedule

Live results and stats

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8.15: The big stories just keep coming at the Olympics. Mo Farah topped the race of his life last Saturday by repeating the trick yesterday evening to win gold in the 5000m.

As the sporting action inside the Olympic Stadium came to a close, the 29-year-old made British sporting history.

8.10: And give this event a chance. I found it slow going yesterday but the suspense built as it progressed.

After the fencing is 200m swimming and even some horse riding.

But the drama comes at the end of the day when the combined events of shooting and running crown the champion.

At these Games, the women's event will be the last gold medal – so keep an eye on it.

8.05: And the early birds are already out in the modern pentathlon.

The fencing has begun at the Copper Box, where Britain has representation in Mhairi Spence and Samantha Murray.

Just to clear a few things up there are 36 competitors in all, with each one facing each other in a round robin format.

Each fencing bout is one minute long and the first to score a hit wins. If neither score a hit then both pentathletes lose the bout.

8:00: So sadly here we are, the last day of London 2012 and the final act of what has been a highly successful Olympic Games.

I admit I had my doubts, but these Games have gone far and beyond my expectations.

But now is not the time for reflection – we still have loads of action to get through before London 2012 really ends – and there may be a couple more British medals too…

Plunge: Tom Daley celebrates his bronze

Plunge: Tom Daley celebrates his bronze

London Olympics 2012: Usain Bolt hits back at Jacques Rogge"s legend barb

What else do I need to do Bolt hits back at Rogge's barb after second Olympic triple

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UPDATED:

01:13 GMT, 12 August 2012

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Usain Bolt hit back at IOC president Jacques Rogge for insisting the 25-year-old sprint phenomenon is not yet a legend.

Bolt and the Jamaican 100m relay team were out of this world after a record-breaking triumph made it three golds at the London Olympics for the world's most famous athlete.

He has styled himself a 'living legend' provoking a put-down from Rogge, but Bolt said there was little else left for him to do – it was the second time he has completed the Olympic treble – 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay.

Storming away: Usain Bolt leads Jamaica to victory

Storming away: Usain Bolt leads Jamaica to victory

Bolt said: 'No, he can't challenge me, first of all I would like to answer with a question: what else do I need to do to prove myself a legend.

'I have won both events twice at the Olympics, I have won World Championship gold medals, I have broken world records many times.

'I don't know what else to do – next time you see him you ask him what else he needs to do that no human as ever done before.'

Crowd favourite: Bolt is embraced after winning his third gold of the Games

Crowd favourite: Bolt is embraced after winning his third gold of the Games

Bolt also revealed a track official had demanded he hand over the baton at the end of the race or face being disqualified – though he later managed to recover it as a souvenir which he, Yohan Blake, and Nesta Carter and Michael Frater will all sign.

Bolt added: 'I got the baton back but at first he was saying said I couldn't keep it because it was the rule and if I didn't give it back I would be disqualified, so I just gave it back, but I got it back afterwards.'

After the medal ceremony Bolt conducted the crowd in the Olympic Stadium in a Mexican wave.
He added: 'I like to push the barriers and do things that has never been done before, that's why I mess around and do fun stuff.

Souvenir: Bolt shows off the baton

Souvenir: Bolt shows off the baton

'To play with the crowd was awesome and I'm sure they appreciated it – I start the Mexican wave, it was fun.

'It was kind of a goodbye to London. I was just having fun in the crowd. I came here to become a legend and I was a legend too I was telling them thank you for the support.'

USA 86 France 50: Auriemma delighted after 41st straight Olympic victory seals gold

USA 86 France 50: Auriemma delighted after 41st straight Olympic victory seals gold

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UPDATED:

01:22 GMT, 12 August 2012

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United States women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma is hoping fans do not get bored with success after his team won a record fifth straight gold medal with victory over France.

The Americans swept the previously unbeaten French aside 86-50 as the final descended into a rout in the second half, and the Americans extended their own record run as the most successful women's team in any sport at the Olympics.

It was their 41st straight Olympic victory, a run that stretches back to the bronze medal game at the 1992 Games in Barcelona, and Auriemma admits some of the drama may have gone from watching his team.

Golden girls: USA celebrate

Golden girls: USA celebrate

'You can't apologise for being really good,' he said. 'The reason (fans) don't think there is any competition is because they don't have to be here playing.

'We know the competition. We know how good those other teams are and we know how hard we have to work to make it look that easy.

'There's a level of expectation here to win. Maybe in other sports there isn't that same level of expectation but we're not going to start losing to make them feel better.'

The Americans grabbed hold of the game in the second quarter with Candace Parker stepping up to size control.

The Los Angeles Sparks star grabbed offensive rebound after offensive rebound and turned them into points to help the Americans pull away in the second quarter, ultimately finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Control: Candace Parker

Control: Candace Parker

'When Candace Parker came into the game, that changed the game completely,' Auriemma said.

'She was the biggest difference in the game and we all took that and ran with it. We beat a really good team, but we're a great team.'

Three members of Auriemma's squad won their third straight gold medal, with Tamika Catchings, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi afforded a standing ovation from their team-mates when they were taken out of the game together in the final two minutes.

'We are the golden girls,' said Bird, who had 11 points. 'We've done it again. Taurasi played tremendously well in the second half.'

Taurasi was clearly emotional after winning her third gold alongside her former college coach Auriemma, and after a difficult two years marked by a failed drugs test in December 2010 that was later annulled when the Turkish laboratory involved was found to be wrong.

'It does feel a little different (to the others),' she said. 'As you get older maybe you reflect more on everything you've had to overcome in your career. It kind of all went through my head, all the things I've been through. The good, the bad, the personal. But it was a good feeling.'

London Olympics 2012 Fred Evans determined to go for welterweight gold

Evans determined not to settle for silver as Welshman goes for welterweight crown

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 11 August 2012

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Fred Evans has made sporting history by becoming the first Welsh boxer guaranteed to win either a silver or gold medal.

The 21-year-old from Cardiff takes on second seed Serik Sapiyev from Kazakhstan for the right to be crowned Olympic welterweight champion.

And having defeated Ukrainian top seed Taras Shelestyuk on his way to the final, Evans believes that the Olympic title is well within his reach.

‘I’ve won the biggest fight of my career by beating the No 1 in the world in an Olympic semi-final,’ said Evans, last year’s European champion.

Golden chance: Evans (right)

Golden chance: Evans (right)

‘Now I’ve got to win gold for my family and for my team-mates. We all came here for gold. We’ve had a great Games as a team but we want to finish with as many gold medals as we can.

‘I’ve got a great chance and if I can beat the No 1 seed there’s no reason why I can’t beat the No 2 seed in the final as well.’

Evans has overcome tremendous personal tragedy to reach this stage. Six years ago, when he was just 15, he lost his mother, Tracy, and four-year-old sister, Scarlett, who were both killed in a car crash.

He had started boxing aged just four before, together with Andrew Selby, becoming the first Welsh boxer to become a European champion for 86 years in 2011.

Evans only managed to scrape through in his quarter-final fight, drawing 18-18 against Canada’s Custio Clayton but winning on countback, but late on Friday night he produced a dominant, technical display to dismiss his more experienced Ukrainian opponent.

Now he has the chance to join teenage taekwondo star Jade Jones as the toast of Wales.

‘I expect to win,’ he vowed. ‘I’ve not come this far for silver.’

London 2012 Olympics: Hockey: Team GB 1 Australia 3

Team GB 1 Australia 3: Lewers' fightback rendered futile as hosts well beaten to bronze

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UPDATED:

16:04 GMT, 11 August 2012

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MEDALS TABLE

Team GB missed out on another medal on Saturday as the Australia hockey team eventually dismantled their defence to come out convincing winners.

The Britons went down to an early goal, but pulled one back through Iain Lewers, giving the home crowd something to cheer.

The ever-impressive Ashley Jackson
set up his compatriot after the Brits survived incredible pressure from
the visitors to level things up.

The man: Jamie Dwyer celebrated a brilliant performance with his Australian team-mates

The man: Jamie Dwyer celebrated a brilliant performance with his Australian team-mates

Futile: Team GB were level before the Australians took the game 3-1

Futile: Team GB were level before the Australians took the game 3-1

But the Britons couldn't cope for the duration of the game, and the cream eventually rose to the top as the Australians exhibited the better hockey, taking control of proceedings.

The side's top goalscorer Jamie Dwyer bagged another to make it 2-1 to the visitors, deflating the Team GB players for a moment.

As the hosts were in their lull, the Australians struck again to make it 3-1.

Team GB could not find a way back into the game from there, and struggled to get enough possession to trouble the impressive Australian outfit at the Riverbank.

More to follow.

Going for bronze: Dwyer capitalised on a penalty corner to bag a goal for Australia

Going for bronze: Dwyer capitalised on a penalty corner to bag a goal for Australia

Going for bronze: Dwyer capitalised on a penalty corner to bag a goal for Australia

London Olympics 2012: Sergey Kirdyapkin wins 50km walk

Russia's Kirdyapkin romps to 50km walk glory in Olympic record time

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UPDATED:

12:22 GMT, 11 August 2012

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Russia’s Sergey Kirdyapkin took gold in the 50-kilometre walk in an Olympic record time.

The former world champion finished in three hours, 35 minutes and 59 seconds, almost a minute clear of Australia’s Jared Tallent, who took silver for the second Games in succession, with China’s Si Tianfeng claiming bronze.

Ireland’s Robert Heffernan was fourth in a national record of 3hrs 37mins 54secs, just holding off Russia’s Igor Erokhin on the line as both athletes were given the same time.

To the victor, the spoils: Sergey Kirdyapkin crsses the line on The Mall

To the victor, the spoils: Sergey Kirdyapkin crsses the line on The Mall

Si looked on course for victory when he wiped out a 20-second deficit and went clear of the field at the 35km mark, but when he faded Kirdyapkin took over at the front and was never in danger of being caught.

Italy’s Alex Schwazer was unable to defend his title after being excluded from the Games following a doping violation.