By Sportswriter Paul Giblin
LONDON, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Uganda's Steven Kiprotich won the gold medal in the Olympic marathon on Sunday to bring the curtain down on the athletics events at the 2012 Games.
The marathon, that legendary test of stamina and resolve, on this occasion run through the heart of London, past the city's famous tourist sights, is the perfect way to end the athletics, containing as it does the virtues of effort, dedication and the ability to suffer to achieve success.
Kiprotech was part of a group of three athletes, himself and Kenyan duo of Abel Kiru and Wilson Kiprotich, who broke clear of the field to have just about assured they would share the three medals with around 12 kilometers remaining.
From that moment it was a question of timing the decisive move and judging strength for the final acceleration. Steven Kiprotich did that to perfection, kicking to leave his rivals trailing behind with just under five kilometers left to run.
While Wilson Kiprotich was unable to respond, Kiru looked to give chase, but was unable to make up the distance leaving the Ugandan to enter the finishing straight in the Mall, with Buckingham Palace a stately backdrop, with a comfortable lead.
That allowed him to take a Ugandan flag and it was with that flag draped proudly across his shoulders that he crossed the finish line 26 seconds ahead of Kiru, with his namesake taking bronze.
However, the marathon is not just about winning medals: the enormous effort involved means that every athlete taking part in the race deserved the applause of the thousands of people who lined the streets. That is what they all received because at the end of the day, all are worthy of the title 'Olympian.'