Alex Schwarzer kept his cool in hot conditions on Friday to give Italy Olympic gold in the men's 50 kilometres walk for the first time in 44 years. ( dpa )
Schwarzer, 23, broke a three-man leader group after the 40km mark to claim his first big title after world championship bronze in 2005 and 2007 in 3 hours 37 minutes 9 seconds.
Jared Tallent of Australia added the silver to his 20km bronze in a personal best 3:39:27. Russia's Denis Nizhegorodov got bronze to go with 2004 Olympic silver in 3:40:14 hours.
The course outside the Bird's Nest stadium offered no shade as the temperatures soared above 30 degrees Celsius in blazing sunshine in the closing stages.
The race took its toll as fifth-placed Norwegian Erik Tysse collapsed after crossing the line and had to be led away in what appeared total exhaustion.
Schwarzer is the first Italian to win the walk marathon since Abdon Pamich 1964 in Tokyo. The last three editions were won by now retired Polish great Robert Korzeniowski.
The decathlon was the only other event in the morning with US favourite Bryan Clay retaining his overall lead after the day's opening 110m hurdles with 5,505 points.
Andrei Krauchanka of Belarus was second with 5,381 points and Trey Hardee of the US just four points adrift in third place with 5,377 points.
The remaining decathlon events were the discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500m.
Apart from the completion of the decathlon, Friday's other medal events were the women's 5,000m, 4x100m relay, long jump, and the men's 4x100m and pole vault.