Karsten Warholm and Elaine Thompson-Herah made history on a memorable day in athletics at the Olympics, the Norwegian broke his own world record by winning the 400m hurdles and the Jamaican completed a historic women’s double double sprint.
Warholm stormed home in one of the greatest Olympic track races of all time, setting a new mark of 45.94 seconds.
His great rival, Rai Benjamin, ran the second fastest time in history (46.17sec), and Brazilian Alison dos Santos narrowly missed sneaking into the old world record, clocking 46.72sec to take the bronze.
The charismatic Warholm celebrated by ripping open his Superman-style running vest.
“I always say that the perfect race doesn’t exist, but this is the closest thing to a perfect race,” said Warholm.
The two-time world champion said he decided to pull a furious pace out of the gun to “stress” his rivals.
“After that I just ran for my life,” he said. “I would have died today for that gold medal.”
There were no such theatrical performances of Thompson-Herah, even though she ran the second fastest time in history.
Her time of 21.53 seconds is only slower than Florence Griffith Joyner’s world record of 21.34 seconds at the drug-infested 1988 Seoul Olympics.
“Oh my god, it’s amazing that I’ve ever seen this day,” said 29-year-old Thompson-Herah.
“That I was able to complete another double. I can’t believe it. I’ve had a tough week. I didn’t sleep after the 100m final.
“I really had to pull it out to win the 200m. It’s a new PB (personal best) and a national record.
“I’m so, so happy.”
The US may have struggled to translate finalists into gold during the first five days off the track and field, but two of their next generation showed there is plenty of talent on the way up.
Athing Mu, 19, was an impressive women’s 800m winner – the first American to do so since Madeline Manning in 1968.
“I didn’t really put gold on that, but as it got closer to the final today, I thought, ‘Yeah, we want gold,'” she said.
“It’s an achievement I wanted off my list.”
Her fellow teenager Erriyon Knighton qualified for the men’s 200m final on Wednesday, the youngest finalist since Britain’s 17-year-old Ade Mafe in 1984.
‘Queen of the hammer’
The field event finals also had their fair share of drama.
German long jumper Malaika Mihambo triumphed in a classic duel with 2012 gold medalist and four-time United States world champion Brittney Reese.
Mihambo was in the bronze medal position for her final jump, but hit the runway to hit a season best of 7.00 meters and come out victorious.
“I knew this was my last chance and I had to do it, and I knew I had more than 6.95 in me,” Mihambo told AFP.
“So I believed in myself.”
Armand Duplantis won the men’s pole vault with a best score of 6.02m.
However, there was more drama than during the actual match after he secured the gold.
The Swedish star came devilishly close in two of his three attempts to break his own world record of 6.18m.
The fraternity of field events wouldn’t allow the circuit’s glamor brigade to make all the headlines.
Polish Anita Wlodarczyk became the first female athlete to win the same athletic event three times with a hammer win.
The 35-year-old Pole, who won gold at the 2012 and 2016 Games in London and Rio, succeeded where Valerie Adams (shot put), Sandra Perkovic (discussion) and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (100m) fell short in this Play.
“I feel good,” she said. “I dreamed of becoming the queen of hammer throw.”