Four years ago today, on Saturday August 4 2012, history was made in London and it is still as fondly remembered.
Never before had three Great British Olympians won gold in the same session of athletics but the names of Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Milton Keynes’ Greg Rutherford were written into folklore that night.
Rutherford was a relative unknown on the athletics map. Having struggled under pressure four years earlier in Beijing, few fancied him to upset the apple cart by winning Britain’s first long jump gold since Lynn Davies in 1964.
It was an historic day for Great Britain. The Games in London was just a week old, but it had already sent a buzz around the country. People were smiling, happy, upbeat; even the weather seemed warmer as gold medals began to pour in for the host nation.
And the gold medals kept on coming. As attentions turned to the Olympic Stadium, Great Britain had already landed three gold medals on Day 8, with two rowing victories and another in the velodrome.
But few could have predicted the remarkable scenes that would unfold in just 46 minutes in the stadium. Jessica Ennis was already the country’s sweetheart, but raced away from her opponents in the final stretch of the 800m to secure heptathlon gold.
It was then the turn of long jumper Rutherford to become a household name.
Having qualified for the with a safe 8.08m jump, he took the lead in the second round with a launch of 8.21m. But the best was yet to come as he leapt 8.31m in the fourth round to secure gold. It was the shortest jump inside 1972 to win a long jump Olympic final, but it mattered little as rival Mitchell Watt could only muster 8.16m. Suddenly, everyone knew who he was.
At the other end of the scale, crowd favourite Mo Farah completed the remarkable hat-trick as he barged to the front of the 10,000m with a lap to go to send the country into hysteria. It was Great Britain’s finest Olympic day since 1908, earning the moniker ‘Super Saturday.’
By the following morning, two postboxes in Lloyds Court in Central Milton Keynes were a stand-out shade of gold, celebrating Rutherford’s remarkable achievement.
And his achievements haven’t stopped there. Since winning in London, Rutherford has gone on to become only the fifth British athlete to hold the Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth titles.
His immortal image also welcomes visitors to Milton Keynes as they travel from J13 of the M1, cast high above the roundabout, forever remembering his achievements on Saturday August 4, 2012.
With the opening ceremony for the 2016 Olympic Games getting underway tomorrow (Friday) in Rio de Janeiro, Rutherford’s Olympic defence begins next week, on Saturday August 13.