Christian Taylor leapt to the Olympic triple jump title with the biggest effort in the world this year.
The American, 22,
won the world title in Daegu last year
and was in trouble when he fouled his first two efforts, but came up with 17.81m in round four.
Compatriot Will Claye took silver with 17.62m, while Fabrizio Donato of Italy collected the bronze with 17.48m.
British hope Phillips Idowu failed to qualify for the final after registering just 16.53m in qualifying.
Idowu's biggest jump this season was 17.31m which would only have been good enough for a fifth-placed finish.
Taylor dedicated his win to his "idol", the world record holder and BBC commentator Jonathan Edwards.
He said: "I was going for it. I said I was going to go for the world record in front of Jonathan Edwards. He's my idol.
"He's the best. I watched footage of him last night at the  Sydney Olympics and Atlanta 1996 Games. I'm glad I got to put on a show. My confidence level is off the roof."
Donato set the early mark with a leap of 17.38m in the opening round, and Claye then hit the front when he went to 17.54m in the next.
Taylor was red-flagged on his first two attempts and needed 17.15m with his third to keep him in the final, but then produced his winning effort with his next visit to the runway.
who also took bronze in the long jump final behind Briton Greg Rutherford
- improved on his next visit but could not connect with his final approach to leave Taylor as the new Olympic champion.