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Usain Bolt secured the legendary status he craved by becoming the first man ever to win the Olympic sprint double twice in succession.
While millions would already consider Bolt a legend for winning triple gold in Beijing and defending his 100m title here on Sunday, the Jamaican insisted he also had to retain his 200m title to achieve such status.
And the 25-year-old did precisely that with another imperious performance, leading a Jamaican clean sweep ahead of 100m silver medallist Yohan Blake and Warren Weir, both of whom are just 22.
Bolt's winning time of 19.32 seconds was outside his own world record of 19.19secs which he felt might be a possibility, but the 80,000 crowd had already witnessed one such record after a stunning performance from Kenya's David Rudisha.
Rudisha stormed to victory in the 800m and broke his own world record in the process, storming through the first lap in 49.28 seconds and powering to the gold medal in one minute 40.91 seconds.
That took exactly one tenth of a second off his previous record as all eight finalists set a season's best, personal best or national record.
Eighteen-year-old Nijel Amos of Botswana claimed silver in a world junior record of 1:41.73 ahead of 17-year-old Kenyan Timothy Kitum, with Britain's Andrew Osagie taking 0.71s off his personal best despite finishing eighth.
Amazingly, Osagie's time of 1:43.77 would have won gold at the last three Olympic Games, while it also took him fourth on the British all-time list behind Coe, Steve Cram and Peter Elliott.
Coe's world record of 1:41.73 - the exact time run by 18-year-old silver medallist Amos tonight - stood for 16 years before it was first equalled and then broken by Denmark's Wilson Kipketer, while Rudisha then broke it twice in seven days in 2010.
The softly-spoken 23-year-old won the world title in Daegu last year and had even spoken about the possibility of facing Usain Bolt in the 4x400m relay in London.
That cannot happen after this morning's heats saw Kenya disqualified and the Jamaican quartet fail to finish due to injury, but it is a mouthwatering prospect.
After sealing the double-double, Bolt told BBC1: "This is what I wanted and I got it. I'm very proud of myself. I had a rough season, I came out here and I did what I had to do.
"We've been working hard all season. We pushed ourselves, we pushed each other and we're happy."
Asked if he could have had a world record, Bolt added: "I think it was possible...but I guess I wasn't fit enough. I was fast but I wasn't fit enough.
"I came off the corner, I could feel the strain on my back a little bit so I was trying to keep my form, but I stopped running because I knew it wasn't going to be a world record. When I came off the corner I could feel it.
"It was hard. I really dedicated [myself] to my work, I know what London meant to me. I came here and I gave it my all and I'm proud of myself.
"I didn't get a world record - I really wanted to do it in the 200m - but I'm happy."
Blake said: "Usain Bolt has been motivating me all season. Everything has been going good so far."
Third-placed Weir added: "It's a great honour to come here and do what the country wanted, to get the top three.
"The love in London is very, very good."
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening came when there was a false start in the last event of the decathlon, but that did not stop world record holder Ashton Eaton from claiming gold.
Eaton took a 151-point lead over team-mate Trey Hardee into the 1,500m and finished ahead of the two-time world champion to end up 198 points clear after two gruelling days of competition.
Eaton's score of 8,869 was 24 short of the Olympic record, with Hardee recording a season's best of 8,671 and Cuba's Leonel Suarez also managing a season's best of 8,523 to claim bronze.
The final gold medal of the evening went to Czech Barbora Spotakova, who successfully defended her javelin title with a throw of 69.55m.
Each of the 31-year-old's first four throws were over 66 metres and would have been good enough for victory, with Germany's Christina Obergfoll taking silver with 65.16m.
Germany's Linda Stahl claimed bronze with a season's best of 64.91m in the fourth round.