An emotional Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic proved that age is no barrier to track success when he stormed to a second men's Olympic 400 metres hurdles gold medal on Monday, eight years after winning in Athens.
The 34-year-old, world champion in 2001 and 2003 and known as "Super Felix" after going unbeaten in 43 successive races between 2001 and 2004, clocked 47.63 seconds to take an assured victory.
After crossing the line he removed a picture from his name label of his late grandmother Lillian who passed away during the Beijing Games in 2008.
"I just wanted to make her proud so I've got her name on my spikes," he told reporters.
"The day she died in Beijing it broke my heart. That's why I ran with the picture close to my heart."
In one of the most moving moments of the Games, Sanchez sobbed as his name was announced before climbing on to the podium for the medal ceremony.
Taking deep breaths and puffing his cheeks, Sanchez tried to stem the watery flow during his country's national anthem but the tears continued as the Dominican Republic flag was raised.
Running in reflective sunglasses from lane seven, Sanchez made a strong start, ran a steady bend and had enough left in the tank in the home straight to hold off fast-closing American Michael Tinsley who secured silver in 47.91. Puerto Rico's Javier Culson (48.10), the fastest man this year, took bronze.
In an unlikely quirk, Sanchez's winning time was identical to the one he registered to win in Athens.
Sanchez, who will turn 35 on August 30, has had a succession of injuries throughout his career but signalled he was back in world class form when he ran his fastest time in eight years in the semifinals.
"A lot of people said I should retire but I stuck with it," he said.
"They (the Dominican people) expected the worlds (in 2001 and 2003), no one expected this. They'll all be celebrating now."
American Angelo Taylor, bidding for a third 400 hurdles gold after triumphs in Sydney and Beijing, was fifth, just behind world champion Dai Greene of Britain who could not repeat his exploits in Daegu, South Korealast year.
Taylor said poor hurdling had let him down.
"I just didn't have a good race today. I floated on hurdle No 8 and they got away from me. I went in sprint mode but I didn't have clean hurdling clearance at the end," he told reporters.
Praising Sanchez, Taylor added: "I know how hard it is to repeat. He had some struggles this year but he put it together on the day that counted."