Usain Bolt stormed to a successful defence of his Olympic 100m crown in the second-fastest time ever recorded as the Jamaican superstar confirmed his status as the greatest sprinter of all time.
Bolt made a hesitant start but left the field for dead from 60 metres to win by two metres (yards) in 9.63sec, slower only than his world record of 9.58sec set in 2009.
Jamaican compatriot and training partner Yohan Blake, long tipped as Bolt's successor as the fastest man in the world, claimed silver after equalling his personal best of 9.75sec.
American 2004 Olympic gold medallist Justin Gatlin completed his remarkable comeback from a four-year doping ban by taking the bronze medal in a personal best of 9.79sec.
The victory crushed pre-Olympics concerns that Bolt was suffering a crisis of form and fitness after his defeat to Blake in the Jamaican trials and injury concerns.
"I tell you people, when it comes to the championships it's about business for me -- and I brought it," said Bolt, who kissed the track after his win and performed his trademark bow-and-arrow celebration.
With Bolt, Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and Blake topping the all-time 100m list, the final featured the four fastest men in history.
"Usain has been to this level and he knows what it takes, he's a world beater and he's fastest man in the world," said Blake.
The 2007 double world champion Tyson Gay came in fourth, one hundredth of a second off his teammate Gatlin in 9.80sec, with a third American, Ryan Bailey, fifth in 9.88.
American Sanya Richards-Ross won the women's 400m and Hungary's Krisztian Pars won the men's hammer, while Kenyan Ezekiel Kemboi won the men's 3000m steeplechase.
After nine days of competition, China were back on top of the medals table with 30 golds to 28 for the United States. Britain were in third place with 16.
Earlier, a day after Britain clocked up six golds -- their best Olympic performance in more than a century -- Andy Murray kept the shocks rolling as he routed Roger Federer 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 at Wimbledon to win men's tennis gold.
Just four weeks after losing to the Swiss at the same venue, denying Britain a first men's grand slam singles win in 76 years, Murray was crying tears of joy as he climbed into the stands to celebrate with his girlfriend and mother.
"That's number one for me. The biggest win of my life," Murray said. "This week's been absolutely incredible. I've had a lot of fun."
However, Murray missed out on winning two gold medals on the same day when he and partner Laura Robson narrowly lost the mixed doubles final 2-6, 6-3, 10/8 to Belarus's Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka.
Women's singles champion Serena Williams claimed her second London Games title, partnered by her sister Venus, with a 6-4, 6-4 win against Czech pair Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka.
Britain's Ben Ainslie claimed his place in history as he won his fourth consecutive sailing gold, in the Finn class, making him the sport's most successful Olympian. But he ruled out trying for a fifth title.
While the day's showcase was the men's 100m, at the other end of the distance spectrum the women's marathon was won by Ethiopian Tiki Gelana in the opening athletics medal of the day.
After a gruelling battle through London's streets which swept past some of the British capital's most iconic landmarks, Gelana raced home on The Mall in an Olympic record time of 2hr 23min 7sec.
Elsewhere, women's boxing made its debut in Olympic competition with the opening bouts in the flyweight and lightweight categories.
The first ever bout saw Russia's Elena Savelyeva defeat North Korea's Kim Hye-Song on points.
Denmark's Lasse Norman Hansen shook off a crash in the fifth and penultimate event to win gold in track cycling's omnium, halting a run of British titles at the Velodrome.
China completed the first clean-sweep of all five badminton gold medals, with Lin Dan winning a thrilling men's singles final against Malaysian rival Lee Chong Wei, and Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng triumphing in the men's doubles.
And the ex-hosts took a step towards a flawless, and unprecedented, haul of all eight diving titles when Wu Minxia won the women's 3m springboard -- equalling her ex-partner Guo Jinging as the sport's most decorated Olympian.
Chinese gymnast Zou Kai successfully defended his Olympic men's floor title, Romania's Sandra Izbasa won the women's vault and Hungary's Krisztian Berki was victorious in the men's pommel horse.