Nine days of athletic action in the Joao Havelange Olympic Stadium came to a close in the record breaking style that has typified Rio 2016. With only the men’s marathon left to run, it’s time for the last instalment of the Rio Wrap.

Can kick will kick

Mo Farah Four 2016 ()

A career that started two decades ago with bunking off from cross country to joy ride farm vehicles has led Mo Farah to becoming the first man for nearly half a century to successfully defend both Olympic middle distance titles.

In the 5000m final the Briton was challenged without really being challenged. Farah sensed the surging pace being led by the Ethiopian trio so sat in the middle of the pack and contained the race from there. When it sped up in the second half he hit the front and took control.

Farah ran the last 400m in 52 seconds (try running that fresh, never mind after a 4600m warm up). The same kick that has seen off so many world class runners before drove him to his fourth gold medal, and to a place in the history books as one of the greatest to have taken to the track.

Centro stage

Men's 1500m 2016 Finish Line ()

Before tonight, you had to scan back to 1908 to find a American winner of the men’s 1500m. No one expected that to change in Rio; classy Kenyan Asbel Kiprop was considered the champion in waiting.

Yet these games have spurned talk of a resurgence in the United States’ running tradition, and Matt Centrowitz shouted it from the rooftops win his stunning metric mile win.

The pedestrian pace meant it came down to the kick, and the world indoor champion produced a 50.6 second last lap (try running that as well) that had every other finalist eating his dust in the home straight.

It helps bring the US medal tally in races from 1500m upwards to six, doubling their track middle distance total from the last three Olympics. The talk is not just hot air.

Best Beitia

Ruth Beitia 2016 2 ()

Ruth Beitia has competed in each Olympics since 2004 without ever standing on the medal podium. That changed courtesy of the 37-year-old’s 1.97m in the high jump final, her faultless series up to that point ensuring she won gold at the fourth time of asking.

In competition, Beitia is the coolest there is, sporting sleek specs and wearing a mean game face. That was gone for the medal presentation, though, where the sassy Spaniard couldn’t contain her delight. Nor could any long-time athletics fan. 

Until next time

Thomas Rohler Javelin 2016 ()

Four years ago in London, Keshorn Walcott sparked fears across Europe of a decline in the continent’s javelin throwing dominance. Walcott, from Trinidad and Tobago, was the first non-European winner of the men’s event since 1952.

He and Kenya’s world champion Julius Yego came into the final as the genuine gold medal favourites.

Yet the upstarts were shut out by a young man from the old continent. Germany’s 25-year-old Thomas Rohler produced a 90.30m devastator to take the win.

Yego and Walcott? Silver and bronze respectively. The title might be going back to Europe, but the challenge is far from over.

Track do the talking

Caster Semenya ()

You can’t really begrudge 800m champion Caster Semenya for holding her council in public. Some athletes decide they are best off just doing their talking on the track. The South African has shunned the press this week and had the last word with a commanding win.

Unbeaten this year, she shrugged off Francine Niyonsaba’s brave drive on 400m and powered home in 1:55.28. Not the world record some expected, but a national record, the fastest time in the world since 2008, and one of the most comprehensive champions we’ve seen in the Joao Havelange all week.

4x400m + 4x400m = 🇺🇸

Allyson Felix 2016 Relay Baton ()

The night’s action was brought to an end with another gold medal for another legendary athlete in the 4x400m relays. The American teams won both races, which is coming something of a tradition.

US teams have now won 17 of the 24 men’s races in held in the modern era, and crossed the line first in the women’s event every year since 1996.

Allyson Felix brought the baton home for this latest win to get her second gold medal of the week. Coming just a day after she collected her fifth as part of the 4x100m quartet, it is her sixth in all, making her the woman with the most track and field Olympic gold medals in history.