It can be a reflection of an occasion of euphoria to describe something as "the best ever". It could be the statement of a serial sycophant, as with the late JA Samaranch, to describe each Olympics as "the best ever". I'm not in a position to say whether the 2012 London Olympic Games - held in their tightly-controlled environment of both the strictest physical and commercial security - are the best ever. But watching from my armchair, my couch, my computer desk, more often from my bed at 5 or 6 am, I'm willing to call the athletics competition at the 2012 Olympic Stadium as the most enthralling I've seen. Even in those events where the favourite(s) were so obvious.
Where else could the traditional grand finale of the track comp - the men's 4x100m relay - not be the biggest highlight of the final evening? The third gold medal in London, sixth of all time, for Usain Bolt? One of only two world records set at this competition? As phenomenal as it was, you have to scroll back an hour to the real highlight of the evening.
The men's 5000 metres final, as tactical and elegant as the best thoroughbred horse races. A tight race for most of the way which rose gradually and predictably to its sprint crescendo. And the local hero, Mo Farah, was the one who broke up the field, took the lead, joined that Holiest of Olympic Holies, the Pantheon of the 5000/10000 metres double.
Some reports on the 5000 metres final by: Richard Williams at The Guardian; Paul Kelso at The Telegraph; Tom Fordyce for the BBC; Georgina Robinson for the Sydney Morning Herald; Richard O'Brien for Sports Illustrated.
Jamaica's team in the 4x100 relay was, in order, Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Yohan Blake and Usain Bolt, their new world record 36.84 seconds. USA was second. Canada thought they were third, but were disqualified, Trinidad and Tobago taking the bronze. Reports on the relay from Michael Wilbon of ESPN, Tony Care of the CBC and, as a control, Bob Ramsak for the official IAAF website.
Two Youtubes do Dia: firstly, reaction in Half Way Tree, Kingston, as Jamaica won the 4x100 metres relay:
secondly (and I do hope the IOC Rights Police haven't hunted this down) the cool dispassionate impartiality of British Broadcasting Corporation staff at the conclusion of the 5000 metres: