The stunning manner in which Kirani James won the 400m at the Olympic Stadium convinced me that a star has been born. To be 19 years old and to be reigning world and Olympic champion is something very special indeed. He is here to stay.
I loved the way he ran and it is clear that he is a superstar of the future. I just hope he is challenged, that it isn't all too comfortable for him.
Michael Johnson said this guy might have the potential to break his world record of 43.18 and if Michael Johnson says so, who am I to argue? Clearly he can do that if he can knock another half second or so off his time. What I would like to see in Rio is Kirani James up against Usain Bolt in the 400m. That would be pretty good, wouldn't it? There have been suggestions that Bolt might step up and if he did it would be a bit like a boxer shifting divisions to prove that they are the best pound-for-pound fighter around - it is the Roberto Duran approach.
The similarity I see with Bolt is that James is a very relaxed and rhythmical runner; they have a similar tempo. When you see Bolt at a canter it is a beautiful thing to watch. Allyson Felix is the same in the women's 200m. When athletes like those are at their peak they make the best of the rest look average. It is a wonderful thing to see a human move like that, at full flow, and James has that ability to captivate you as well.
In the final it was incredible to see two teenagers run away from the best in the world. James is going to be a global superstar. He is Olympic and world champion at the age of 19 and to knock 0.5 seconds off his personal best with a time of 43.94 was sensational.
The 400m hurdles race was memorable as well. If you had told me before the Olympics that Felix Sanchez would be winning the title, eight years after his gold in Athens and at the age of 34, I would have thought you were mad. But after the semi-final you couldn't look any further than him: it was a remarkable run. We know he can execute, that is never in question, and it was only a question of whether he was in shape or not, and clearly he was.
From a British perspective it was a bit of a contrast to the highs we had seen in previous days at the Olympic Stadium. The 400m hurdles final was a brilliant race, but not for Dai Greene. He is left to lick his wounds a bit because I think he gave it all he had on the day but just didn't have enough in the tank, it would seem. I was disappointed for him.
Perri Shakes-Drayton also had a difficult evening in the women's 400m hurdles. She was out, then she was in, and then she was out again with Denisa Rosolova's disqualification saga, but I think Perri needs to find more consistency. Her run at Crystal Palace was so encouraging and it is not right that she ran slower at the Olympics. All you ask of yourself is that you bring your season's best to the big occasion. You have to make the most of a quick track and unfortunately she didn't.
Holly Bleasdale was in tears as her pole vault challenge ended prematurely, and while throughout the contest I kept thinking that she must be disappointed, afterwards you have to realise that she is only 20 years old and has just come sixth in the Olympics. Okay, 4.45m isn't a great height, but she finished ahead of Anna Rogowska, who didn't even register a score. She now understands what it is like to compete in an Olympic Games and it will have been a valuable experience for her.
Former javelin world record holder and twice Olympic silver medallist Steve Backley will be an expert consultant for Eurosport-Yahoo! during the London 2012 Games.
- Sports & Recreation
- Athletics, Track & Field
- Kirani James
- Michael Johnson
- Usain Bolt