Stephen Kiprotich drew inspiration from Uganda's only previous Olympic champion and capitalised on the benefits of training at altitude in Kenya to win the London Games men's marathon on Sunday.
“I was unknown, now I am known,” Kiprotich told reporters after winning Uganda's first medal of the Games in the final event of the athletics programme before thousands of cheering spectators on the streets of London.
John Akii-Bua, who set a world record in the 1972 Munich Games 400 metres hurdles final, was Uganda's only other Olympic champion.
“I always kept him in mind,” Kiprotich said after accelerating away from Kenyans Wilson Kipsang and Abel Kirui with six kilometres remaining in the 42.195km race past some of London's most celebrated landmarks on a hot and humid morning.
“I saw him coming like a cheetah,” exclaimed twice world champion Kirui, who had been locked in a three-way battle with Kiprotich and London champion Kipsang since the 30-km mark on a loop course with one short and three long laps.
“It was very hard to control that kind of move.”
Kipsang had taken the early lead, passing the halfway stage in 63 minutes 15 seconds in a successful attempt to split the field, before he was gradually reeled in by Kiprotich and Kirui.
Kiprotich crossed the line in two hours eight minutes one second, 26 seconds ahead of Kirui. Kipsang was 1:10 further back.
Trinidad's Walcott’s javelin glory
Trinidad & Tobago's first Olympic gold medal in a field event was forged in the unlikely setting of an old school field by a teenager larking around with his cousins.
Less than four years on and still not yet out of his teens, Keshorn Walcott became Olympic javelin champion on Saturday with a victory that surprised himself, let alone the sporting world and beyond. More surprising was that the winner, only 19, hails from a nation and region, Cuba aside, not usually associated with field events.
Trinidadian sprinters? Yes. Think 1976 Olympic champion Hasely Crawford, Trinidad's first and only other Games gold medallist.
Trinidadian cricketers? Yes. Think former West Indies captain Brian Lara.
Javelin throwers? Not until Walcott first picked up a javelin for fun as a 16-year-old and launched it 55 metres.
His rise to the top has come at a phenomenal rate and reached a crescendo in the Olympic stadium when, with no expectation of success despite being crowned world junior champion last month, he upstaged the some big names.