Giant on the move
My abiding memory from these Games will be watching Usain Bolt give everything he had to break a world record most of us had thought unbreakable.
Michael Johnson’s time of 19.32 in the 200 metres had never been seriously challenged before the Jamaican sprinter, a headline writer’s dream, decided it was finally time to get down to some serious work.
Bolt had won the 100 metres, and broken the world record, with ridiculous ease on the Saturday to set the Games alight. He was running so well that he had time to ease up well before the line and still record a commanding win.
Wednesday was different. Again, he had the race won well before the line, thanks to a brilliant bend, but there was no question of him slacking off as he hurtled down the straight. I could see him grimacing with pain as he neared the finish line before looking over to check the time.
Michael Phelps trouncing his rivals is always something fantastic to see, and here in Beijing it took your breath away to watch him so often leave everyone else for dead.
But the races which stick most vividly in my mind are the two in which gold appeared to have escaped him.
It was everything the event was not supposed to be. The Olympics should embody sportsmanship and fair play. Taekwondo is about discipline and civility in a fight.
Unfortunately Cuba’s Angel Vaoldia Matos forgot about both in the heat of his bronze medal bout.
Continuing our look at the golden moments from the Games, Sophie Hardach tells us what it was like watching the heart-wrenching story of weightlifter Matthias Steiner unfold.
After covering 14 Olympic weightlifting competitions, I sat down for the super-heavyweight contest knowing that it would be the most spectacular of them all. In the previous contests, I had seen hulking strongmen in tears, had watched lifters crash to the floor under the barbell, had heard caveman howls and primal screams.
So much goes on in such a short space of time at the Olympics that for many of us it all tends to blur into one. You’re lucky if you can come away from the Games with one indelible image in your mind, a moment you’ll always remember for the drama, the colour or the sheer brilliance of the performance.
We’re almost at the end now, so I’ve asked Reuters correspondents to share a favourite golden moment from the Games. Here’s the first from Erik Kirschbaum, who watched aghast as history repeated itself at the shooting. Erik writes: