The start of the evening session at the European Athletics Championships was delayed last night because of a storm warning.
It failed to arrive but we did get strong winds and a lightning bolt. Or, rather, the Lightning Bolt.
Usain Bolt turned up in the Letzigrund Stadium, minus his Glaswegian Tam O'Shanter, to offer support to his friend Mo Farah as the world and Olympic 5000 and 10,000 metres champion sought to regain his Midas touch after a run of mere mortal form and other assorted misfortunes.
Loading article content
After a disappointing eighth-place finish on his marathon debut in London in April, a spell of four days in hospital after collapsing on a bathroom floor and then pulling out of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Farah managed to resume normal service with victory in the 10,000m final last night.
On a night when British medals rained down on the Zurich track - James Dasaolu in the men's 100m and Tiffany Porter in the women's 100m hurdles also set the gold standard - Farah was not the only man bearing the Union Flag emblem to rise to the occasion in a cat and mouse 25-lap affair. Indeed, when Farah put his foot on the gas at the front on the final lap and pulled clear of Ali Kaya (a naturalised Turk known formerly as Stanley Kiprotich Mukche of Kenya) in the home straight, it was his British team-mate who won the race for silver.
That was the Aldershot athlete formerly known as Andy Vernon. He was rechristened 'Andy Vermin' by Lynsey Sharp last week after the Englishman goaded her sarcastically on Twitter about mentioning her Commonwealth silver medal ad nauseam. Vernon tweeted an apology to the Edinburgh 800m runner and has since done so in person.
Fortunately for Vernon, when he saw an opening in the home straight last night he was through it like a rat up a drain pipe, dipping on the line to finish ahead of Kaya and 0.55sec behind Farah, who prevailed in 28min 08.11sec.
While Farah departed on a lap of honour, stopping for a celebratory hug from Bolt, Vernon received a congratulatory message from Sharp. "#notjustcrosscountry," she tweeted, accompanied by a wink, a reference to her suggestion that Vernon's only successes had come away from the track. "It's taken months and years of work for me to get this medal," reflected the Englishman.
Farah has now won four European track titles and will be going for a fifth in the 5000m on Sunday. "I really wanted to run the Commonwealth Games but couldn't, so this means a lot to me," he said. "I didn't want to let people down after missing Glasgow.
"It's been pretty bad, being in hospital for four days and not knowing what's going on. But I got over it. I've had massive support."
The door to a British victory in the men's 100m final was left ajar when Jimmy Vicaut withdrew before the semi-finals. The Frenchman had looked the most likely in the first-round heats but withdrew before the semi-finals with a hamstring injury.
His absence offered encouragement to Dasaolu, who was beaten narrowly to the European indoor 60m title in Gothenburg by Vicaut last year. Dasaolu also missed out on a place on the England team at Glasgow 2014, so the Londoner arrived in Switzerland with a point to prove on that front as well as to those who have pegged him as physically and mentally fragile.
The Croydon Harrier answered his doubters in style, edging out the 2010 and 2012 champion Christophe Lemaitre in his semi-final and doing likewise in the final, crossing the line 0.07 clear of the tall, leggy Frenchman in 10.06. The battle for bronze was even closer, with Harry Aikines-Aryeetey pipping his veteran British team-mate and training partner Dwain Chambers by 0.02 in 10.22.
British hopes of a gold were high in the 100m hurdles final and Tiffany Porter duly delivered. The US-born athlete almost quit after failing to get beyond the semi-final stages at the London Olympics but has won a medal at every international championship since then and claimed gold last night, edging out Cindy Billaud of France by 0.03 with a winning time of 12.76.
Not since the 1974 championships in Rome had a British woman won a 100m medal. Then it was Andrea Lynch who took bronze behind Irena Szewinska and Renate Stecher. Ashleigh Nelson, a former teenage prodigy from Stoke, brought the 40-year wait to an end, claiming a bronze of her own in 11.22.
The heptathlete-turned-sprinter Dafne Schippers also turned the clock back in the gold-medal position to become the first Dutch winner since the great Fanny Blankers-Koen in Brussels in 1950.
The 22-year-old from Utrecht emerged victorious in 11.12, four-hundredths of a second ahead of Frenchwoman Myriam Soumaire.