Jessica Ennis and the night Britain's Olympics all became worth it
Britain had a big night at the Olympic Stadium Saturday, winning three golds including one for Jessica Ennis, the British face of the London Games.
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But then Saturday came, and Ennis was impeccable. When the last event – the 800 meters – arrived, it was more celebration than competition. The gold was already virtually assured, but she still won the race, coming from behind down the stretch.Skip to next paragraph
"I'm going to savor the moment," Ennis said Saturday. "I've had great support, although I have been under a huge amount of pressure."
What was not virtually assured was what came next. As Ennis was on the track, a carrot-topped dead ringer for Doogie Howser named Greg Rutherford launched himself into the air and came down 27 feet later, claiming a long jump gold for Britain. Then, a bunch of men ran around the track for a ridiculously long time (27 minutes, 30.42 seconds, to be exact) and the first man across the line happened to be a Somali immigrant by the name of "Mo."
Need we add? He's British, having moved here when he was 8.
When Mohamed Farah crossed the finish line, he did not collapse into a heap. Instead, he went absolutely nuts. If Ennis's story had a scripted dignity to it, then this was spontaneous exuberance of the most irrational sort. Even before he finished, Farah looked back over his shoulder, and there was Galen Rupp, his friend and American training partner – an improbable second.
This is after running 10,000 meters, mind you.
Perhaps that is where his daughter got the idea. As the crowd roared and Farah searched for a proper Union Jack, she came streaking out of the stands, dodging stewards on the track until she at last reached Farah and jumped into his arms. His wife, eight months pregnant with twins, followed after (at a much more measured pace).
"It was the best moment of my life," Farah said.
It was the Olympics, and every so often, they remind you why we make such a big fuss every two years.
For Britain, Saturday was that night.