Olympic Track & Field 2012: Usain Bolt and Most Impressive Athletes in London

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Olympic Track & Field 2012: Usain Bolt and Most Impressive Athletes in London
Julia Vynokurova/Getty Images

There have already been some terrific track and field performances even though the competition only began late last week. Olympic Stadium has been packed with fans hoping to get a glimpse at some of the world's best athletes.

Let's take a look at the three most impressive showings during marquee events from the first weekend. All of the athletes listed already have added a gold medal to their country's total, ensuring they will be hometown heroes for quite some time.

 

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Jessica Ennis

No athlete from the host nation of Great Britain had more pressure on his or her shoulders leading up to the Games than Ennis. Although that's a good thing because it means people care, it also makes living up to expectations much more difficult.

That didn't stop Ennis, though. She dominated the heptathlon field thanks to strong performances across the board, including a thrilling run in the 800 meters. It's not normally her strongest event, but it really seemed like the electric crowd powered her to the front to clinch victory.

Nobody received a bigger ovation to this point than her as she covered those final meters. And as soon as she crossed the final line, it was like the weight of the world was removed. It was simply an incredible win from start to finish.

 

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Usain Bolt

Given how awe-inspiring Bolt was during his 100-meter triumph in Beijing four years ago, it was surprising to see so many people picking against him in this year's race. The doubt was due to some weak warm-up races prior to the Games.

What many analysts forgot is that Bolt is the ultimate showman. After the avalanche of attention he received after Beijing, he came to love the spotlight. In turn, it became more difficult for him to get up for those secondary races.

But when the bright lights started shining on Sunday, Bolt was back in unbeatable form. Facing stiff competition from countryman Yohan Blake and a trio of Americans, Bolt ran away from the field and once again established himself as the fastest man on the planet.

 

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Sanya Richards-Ross

Richards-Ross won bronze in the 400 meters in 2008, which was a disappointment at the time, but it clearly gave her the motivation she needed to keep working toward individual gold. She accomplished that dream on Sunday.

While the 27-year-old 400-meter specialist didn't get off to the ideal start, she quickly started making up ground and used a late charge to overcome Christine Ohuruogu and claim gold. It was the best run by an American all weekend.

Richards-Ross still has a couple more races left to run in London, including a relay the United States has won with her each of the past two Olympics. Regardless of those results, her 400-meter victory will be the prize she probably enjoys the most.

 

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