London - 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 with world champion Abel Kirui and
Wilson Kipsang, the 23-year-old put in a powerful kick to shake off the
Kenyans six kilometres from the end of the 42km race. He crossed the
finish line draped in the red, black and yellow Ugandan 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
"I will say history has been written by many athletes. The Games
were absolutely fabulous. London has absolutely refreshed the Games,"
International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge told reporters.
On the 16th and final day of competition, Cuba, Ukraine and
Kazakhstan picked up golds for boxing and Japan and the United States
Hungarian Adrienn Toth was leading in the women's modern
pentathlon, a combination of fencing, swimming, horse riding, shooting
and running, which was the last event due to finish.
Starting Sunday on 44 gold medals, six ahead of China, the United
States were already unassailable at the top of the overall table and
added a 45th when Jake Varner won the 96 kg freestyle wrestling.
They were looking to go one better 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.
"We all know what's on the line," said U.S. player Kevin Durant.
"They're going to come out and give us their best shot. We got our work
cut out for us."
Women's modern pentathlon will be the last event to round off the
two-week extravaganza of sport before some of Britain's best-known pop
acts, including The Who and George Michael, play out the closing
The U.S. basketball team will find it hard to top Saturday's
spectacle on the track when Bolt anchored the Jamaicans to relay gold
and Britain's Mo Farah claimed the 5,000 to go with his 10,000 title.