When Almaz Ayana crossed the finish line after obliterating – and that is a major understatement – the world record in the women's 10,000m, it looked like she could do it all over again, so fresh did she look after putting up one of the greatest performances you will ever see in the Olympics.
The athletics event of the Rio 2016 Olympics had its perfect opening day moment, thanks to the ridiculously-good Ethiopian, who clinched the women's 10000 metres with such assurance, such style, such finesse and such ease that every single person at the stadium was up on their feet, applauding in disbelief, and marvelling at the wonder they had just seen.
Ayana crossed the line in 29 minutes and 17.45 seconds, which was a new Olympic record and a new world record by a long, long way; the previous WR being 29:31.78, set by Wang Junxia in 1993.
Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot (29:32.53) ran the race of her life, but the Kenyan, who finished less than a second short of the previous world record, could only take silver, with the double Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba (29:42.56) taking bronze.
This was a staggering race, with Kenyan Alice Aprot Nawowuna, who was the fourth woman to finish in a time under 30 minutes – the first time any athlete has ever dipped under that mark in seven years – unable to even finish on the podium.
It is hard to fathom the ease with which Ayana put in her 10,000m run, with her two splits being 14:46 and 14:31.
After breaking from the 5,200m mark, everyone kept thinking: "nope, the pace is too much, just not possible, she has to break back, it has to happen." But, it did not, the pace just kept getting better and better and great credit must be given to the rest of the top four for staying as close to Ayana as they did.
In the end, though, with the final 100m on sight, and plenty of runners still to even get on their final lap, Ayana powered home in some style, while looking like she had just ran a 100m dash instead of 10,000m.