No one thought that they would ever see anything like the scenes witnessed on Saturday 4th September, when Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford confirmed the greatest night in British athletics history.
A month on, and once again everyone inside the Olympic Stadium witnessed something extra special as the trio of Hannah Cockroft, David Weir and Jonnie Peacock added three more gold taking them past the proposed target before the Games. The night was dubbed as the biggest in Paralympic sport, recognition of the admiring British public were certainly rewarded with stellar performances from two of the most popular athletes in Team GB.
First up was Hannah Cockroft in the T34 200m final, treated the crowds to what would be a delicious starter to a fantastic trio of events which were to unfold in front of their eyes. The current world champion and world record holder was firm favourite to win the race; confidence levels were high both from the crowds and Hannah herself, who had dyed her hair patriotically in the red, white and blue of the Union Jack.
As Cockroft waited at the start line, Queens ‘Don’t Stop me now’ bursted out of the stadiums speaker system, as Freddie Mercury instructed her opponents.
The wheelchair racer from Halifax completed her Olympic double after her 100m win 6 days ago. The girl known as the hurricane flew away from her competitors crossing the line a staggering two seconds in front of her closest opponent. The joy on her face was greeted by the elation from the crowd as it took her a full 25 minutes to complete her victory lap, enjoying every moment. When it was time for the national anthem, she sung every word like her life depended on it. A great way to wet the appetites of the watching public.
Next up on the menu was David Weir who was gunning for his third gold inside the Olympic Stadium, which he has made home this last week.
Lining up in the 800m T54 the man known as the weir wolf , was calm and composed as he set out in his mind the two laps of the Olympic track that he had in front of him, separating him from greatness. Starting in lane 7, Weir was already in a disadvantage as he set out in an unpopular lane. When the announcer went down the line introducing the athletes, they were cheered by the adorning British public, as they were warming up their vocal cords to when David Weir would be announced.
The gun fired and off went to the athletes, the noise erupted as China’s Zhang Lixing set of first, followed by Weir close behind. Weir was locked on the China man the whole race, waiting for the right time to make his move. As the racers came in to the home straight, Lixin still had the lead, but more pressure was being applied as Weir was cheered on. As the line drew closer, more tension arose around the stadium, Weir had to dig deep as he drew up level with the China man and eventually passed him to cross the line in first place, to the relief and exhilaration from the home crowd.
Werewolf howls went around the stadium, masks of the creature were also worn by his team mates as they were finally allowed to celebrate this great achievement. The poster boy of Team GB athletics four years ago in Beijing, was the only Brit to win a gold medal, this time around British fans barely had ten minutes to digest the celebrations as yet another gold medal was at stake.
Jonnie Peacock proved to be the cherry on the top of what was a truly magical night. The 19 year old and world record holder knew he was in for a fight. In the same field were the fastest sprinters in the world, including Oscar Pistorious, arguably the most famous paralymian of all time, Alan Oliveira the Brazilian who beat Pistorious only a few days ago and American Blake Leeper.
The crowd were already buoyed by events which had happened earlier certainly didn’t need any encouragement when it came to cheering Peacocks name. A respectful cheer was given to Oscar Pistorious as the crowd were wary of how he could set a dampener on the night. Before the race Peacock was calm and collected, loving the moment as he drew in every second, confidence oozing from the British hopeful. He had the crowd in his hands as he demanded silence as he took his stance in his blocks. On the sound of the gun exploded a furious roar as Peacock set out in the 100 metres ahead of him. Pistorious had a dreadful start, unlike Peacock who exploded down his lane, one result was only going to happen. 10.90 seconds later and a new Paralympic record, ecstasy was released around the stadium. Tears in the eyes of many, joy in the hearts of everyone as yet another hero greeted his fans in his victory lap.
Finishing behind Peacock was, Richard Browne of USA in second and South Africa’s Arnu Fourie beat Pistorious to the bronze medal. Like anybody in the Olympic Stadium on that famous Saturday night four weeks ago, this was a night British Paralympics will never forget.